Impact of tree saplings on the kinetic energy of rainfall—The importance of stand density, species identity and tree architecture in subtropical forests in China
Created at: 2015-02-09
Envisaged journal: Geißler, C., Lang, A. C., Von Oheimb, G., Härdtle, W., Baruffol, M., & Scholten, T. (2012). Impact of tree saplings on the kinetic energy of rainfall—The importance of stand density, species identity and tree architecture in subtropical forests in China. Agricultural and forest meteorology, 156, 31-40.
Envisaged date: 2011-12-22
In order to estimate the influence of plant architectural traits on the erosivity of throughfall we studied throughfall kinetic energy (KE) under tree saplings in a plantation-like experiment in the humid subtropics. Our analyses of rainfall and throughfall KE are based on measurements using calibrated splash cups. Two experiments were carried out, one focusing on density effects and the other testing for species-specific effects and effects of species mixtures. The major architectural traits were measured to characterize sapling morphology. Mixed effects models were used for statistical analysis. In both models, rainfall KE was identified as the most important effect on throughfall KE. Overall, rainfall KE per area was reduced by 59% below the canopy of the studied saplings. We found a significant effect of sapling density on throughfall KE. This is primarily due to the relation between free throughfall and released throughfall. As free throughfall possesses a far higher KE than released throughfall originating from saplings, lower sapling density results in higher total throughfall KE. We also showed that the influence of density on throughfall KE decreases with increasing sapling height due to lateral canopy growth of the saplings.
Throughfall KE was significantly different among species. We attribute this to species-specific differences in crown architectural traits. These traits have opposite influence on throughfall KE and interact with each other. Depending on its magnitude, one crown trait can possibly superimpose contrary effects of others.
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