Water use by perennial plants in the transition zone between river oasis and desert in NW China

2006 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Water use by perennial plants in the transition zone between river oasis and desert in NW China​
Thomas, F. M.; Foetzki, A.; Arndt, S. K.; Bruelheide, H.; Gries, D.; Li, X. & Zeng, F. et al.​ (2006) 
Basic and Applied Ecology7(3) pp. 253​-267​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2005.07.008 

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Thomas, Frank M.; Foetzki, Andrea; Arndt, Stefan K.; Bruelheide, Helge; Gries, Dirk; Li, Xiangyi; Zeng, Fanjiang; Zhang, X.; Runge, Michael
The study aimed at establishing the role of two possible water sources (inundation, ground water) for the water supply to the perennial plant species Alhagi sparsifolia, Calligonum caput-medusae, Populus euphratica and Tamarix ramosissima growing in the transition zone between a river oasis and the open desert at the southern fringe of the Taklamakan desert (Xinjiang province, NW China). The basic hypothesis was that inundations, which normally occur in summer when rivers from a nearby mountain range carry high water, contribute significantly to the plants' water supply. When, in the first summer, inundations did not occur, four sites, each of which covered by a relatively dense stand of one species, were artificially flooded. Soil and plant water relations as well as meteorological variables were measured during two growing seasons. Water use efficiency of production (WUEp) was calculated by relating biomass production, which was determined using allometric regressions, to water use. The effects of artificial flooding on the plant water relations were negligible. Water use was relatively high, especially in the A. sparsifolia and the P euphratica stands and in a dense stand of T ramosissima (up to approx. 500 kgH(2)O m(-2) year(-1)). Using the total above-ground biomass in the calculation, WUEp was highest in C. caput-medusae and P euphratica, and lowest, in A. sparsifolia. From soil and plant water relations, and against the background of the climate and the productivity of the vegetation, it is concluded that all perennial plants in the transition zone between oases and desert in that region must have sufficient access to ground water to ensure long-term survival. Management of ground water such that it remains continuously accessible to the perennial plants is a prerequisite for the conservation and sustainable use of the vegetation in the transition zone. (c) 2005 Gesellschaft fur Okologie. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
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Elsevier Gmbh, Urban & Fischer Verlag
Basic and Applied Ecology 
1618-0089; 1439-1791



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