Throughfall under a teak plantation in Thailand: a multifactorial analysis on the effects of canopy phenology and meteorological conditions
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Teak (Tectona grandis Linn. f.) plantations cover vast areas throughout Southeast Asia and are of great economic importance. This study has sought to increase our understanding of throughfall inputs under teak by analyzing the abiotic and biotic factors governing throughfall amounts and throughfall ratios in relation to three canopy phenophases (leafless, leafing, and leafed). There is no rain during the brief leaf senescence phenophase. Daily data was available for both throughfall volumes and depths as well as leaf area index. Detailed meteorological data were available in situ every ten minutes. Leveraging this high-resolution field data, we employed boosted regression trees (BRT) analysis to identify the primary controls on throughfall amount and ratio during each of the three canopy phenophases. Whereas throughfall amounts were always dominated by the magnitude of rainfall (as expected), throughfall ratios were governed by a suite of predictor variables during each phenophase. The BRT analysis demonstrated that throughfall ratio in the leafless phase was most influenced (in descending order of importance) by air temperature, rainfall amount, maximum wind speed, and rainfall intensity. Throughfall ratio in the leafed phenophase was dominated by rainfall amount which exerted 54.0% of the relative influence. The leafing phenophase was an intermediate case where rainfall amount, air temperature, and vapor pressure deficit were most important. Our results highlight the fact that throughfall ratios are differentially influenced by a suite of meteorological variables during leafless, leafing, and leafed phenophases. Abiotic variables (rainfall amount, air temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and maximum wind speed) trumped leaf area index and stand density in their effect on throughfall ratio. The leafing phenophase, while transitional in nature and short in duration, has a detectable and unique impact on water inputs to teak plantations. Further work is clearly needed to better gauge the importance of the leaf emergence period to the stemflow hydrology and forest biogeochemistry of teak plantations.