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Carbon dioxide and energy flux partitioning between the understorey and the overstorey of a maritime pine forest during a year with reduced soil water availability

Jarosz, Nathalie, Brunet, Yves, Lamaud, Eric, Irvine, Mark, Bonnefond, Jean-Marc, Loustau, Denis
Agricultural and forest meteorology 2008 v.148 no.10 pp. 1508-1523
Pinus pinaster, forest trees, temperate forests, overstory, understory, carbon dioxide, gas exchange, soil water content, plant available water, energy balance, forest ecosystems, heat transfer, seasonal variation, photosynthesis, cell respiration, carbon sequestration, water stress, drought, primary productivity, air temperature, France
Carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy fluxes were measured above and within a maritime pine forest during an atypical year with long-lasting reduced soil water availability. Energy balance closure was adequately good at both levels. As compared with what is usually observed at this site the ecosystem dissipated less energy via latent heat flux and more via sensible heat flux. The understorey canopy was responsible for a variable, significant component of the whole canopy fluxes of water vapour and carbon dioxide. The annual contribution of the understorey was 38% (154mm) of the overall evaporation (399mm) and 32% (89mm) of the overall sensible heat flux (274mm). The participation of the understorey reached 45% of the overall evaporation and 30% of the daytime overall assimilation during significant soil water deficit periods in summertime. Even during winter, understorey photosynthesis was consistent as it compensated soil and understorey respiration. The ecosystem behaved as a sink of carbon, with a negative annual carbon budget (-57gCm⁻²). However, due to high soil water deficit, the annual ecosystem GPP was 40% less than usually observed at this site. This budget resulted from a sink of -131gCm⁻² for the overstorey and a source of +74gCm⁻² for the understorey. Moreover, on an annual basis the overstorey layer contributed to almost two-thirds of the ecosystem respiration. Finally, the effect of long-lasting soil water deficit on the maritime pine forest was found more important than the effect of the heat wave and drought of summer 2003.