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Tree Physiol. 1993 Dec;13(4):321-36.

An analysis of sap flow in mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of different age.

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School of Agriculture and Forestry, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.


Diurnal measurements of sap velocity were made in 50-, 90-, 150- and 230-year-old mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans F. Muell.) forests in the North Maroondah catchment (southeast Australia) over the periods January 8, 1990 to April 4, 1990 and October 29, 1990 to April 16, 1991. Over the two periods, daily mean sap velocities for the four forests, in order of increasing age, were 11.5, 11.4, 9.9 and 11.8 cm h(-1) respectively. Daily mean sap velocity did not differ significantly among the 50-, 90- and 230-year-old plots. However, in the 150-year-old trees it was significantly smaller by an average of 14%. Sap velocity varied diurnally and also between positions within individual trees and among trees both within and between stands. Despite this variability, the sampling intensity and duration were sufficient to establish that behavior was highly correlated among individuals within plots. There was a significant decline with age in the overstory sapwood conducting area of these forests. In order of increasing age, the values were 6.7, 6.1, 4.2 and 4.0 m(-2) ha(-1), respectively. When combined with daily mean sap velocity, these data allowed the calculation of overstory water use. Over the experimental period, water use of the overstory decreased with age ranging, on average, from 1.86 mm day(-1) for the 50-year-old plot to 0.81 mm day(-1) for the 230-year-old plot. Mean daily water use for the two intermediate-aged forests was 1.67 and 1.00 mm day(-1), respectively. Annual water use decreased with forest age from 679 mm for the 50-year-old stand to 296 mm for the 230-year-old stand. This difference corresponds to 3.8 x 10(3) m(3) ha(-1). The annual water use of the intermediate-aged stands was 610 and 365 mm for the 90- and 150-year-old stands, respectively.

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