Plant functional diversity influences water and carbon fluxes and their use efficiencies in native and disturbed dryland ecosystems

Alejandro E. Castellanos*, César Hinojo-Hinojo, Julio C. Rodriguez, Jose Raul Romo-Leon, Bradford P. Wilcox, Joel A. Biederman, Josep Peñuelas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vegetation is changing rapidly in dryland ecosystems, but critical gaps remain in understanding the long-term fluxes of carbon (C) and water. We used 6 years of data from two adjacent eddy covariance sites in the Sonoran Desert, a species-rich woody C3 native shrubland and a species-poor C4 shrubland converted to buffelgrass savanna. Although emphasis has been given to the physical determinants of productivity in dryland ecosystems, we assessed how PFTs changes influenced (1) water and C fluxes and (2) water-use (WUEe) and intrinsic C-use efficiencies (CUEei) in the two sites under the same climatological conditions. We hypothesized that changes in PFTs would alter accessibility, rate and use efficiencies of water and carbon, with poorly known effects on the long-term fluxes and efficiencies. Annual net ecosystem productivity (NEP) in the shrubland was a C-source in drier years and a sink in others. However, longer C uptake, greater WUEe and lower CUEei were the crucial drivers for higher and positive NEP (C sink) in the savanna. Annual and seasonal WUEe and CUEei discrepancies indicated the importance of dominant PFTs after disturbance and ecohydrological feedbacks. As the world becomes drier and vegetation disturbance more common, the role of PFT changes should contribute to gaining a clearer understanding of their role in the C and water fluxes of dryland ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2415
JournalEcohydrology
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper greatly improved with the constructive comments from two unknown reviewers. We recognize the support from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) (CB61865, INF2012/1-188387) and CB223525 to AEC, Universidad de Sonora to AEC and JRRL and CONACYT-TEXAS A&M to BDW and AEC. AEC acknowledges JP and CREAF, CONACYT and UNISON for support on a sabbatical leave when preliminary work on this paper started. CHH acknowledges CONACYT and Posgrado en Biociencias for a PhD scholarship. We thank Dr. José Llano S. and students at Laboratorio de Ecofisiología Vegetal for their help in the field and laboratory at various stages of this work. We are thankful to Ing. Luis Sierra M. for undertaking these studies in his ranch (El Churi). USDA is an equal opportunity employer.

Funding Information:
This paper greatly improved with the constructive comments from two unknown reviewers. We recognize the support from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) (CB61865, INF2012/1‐188387) and CB223525 to AEC, Universidad de Sonora to AEC and JRRL and CONACYT‐TEXAS A&M to BDW and AEC. AEC acknowledges JP and CREAF, CONACYT and UNISON for support on a sabbatical leave when preliminary work on this paper started. CHH acknowledges CONACYT and Posgrado en Biociencias for a PhD scholarship. We thank Dr. José Llano S. and students at Laboratorio de Ecofisiología Vegetal for their help in the field and laboratory at various stages of this work. We are thankful to Ing. Luis Sierra M. for undertaking these studies in his ranch (El Churi). USDA is an equal opportunity employer.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords

  • buffelgrass
  • carbon and water fluxes
  • dryland ecosystems
  • ecosystem carbon-use efficiency
  • ecosystem water-use efficiency
  • eddy covariance

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