Spatial Distribution of Tree Species Governs the Spatio-Temporal Interaction of Leaf Area Index and Soil Moisture across a Forested Landscape

Kusum J. Naithani, Doug C. Baldwin, Katie P. Gaines, Henry Lin, David M. Eissenstat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quantifying coupled spatio-temporal dynamics of phenology and hydrology and understanding underlying processes is a fundamental challenge in ecohydrology. While variation in phenology and factors influencing it have attracted the attention of ecologists for a long time, the influence of biodiversity on coupled dynamics of phenology and hydrology across a landscape is largely untested. We measured leaf area index (L) and volumetric soil water content (θ) on a co-located spatial grid to characterize forest phenology and hydrology across a forested catchment in central Pennsylvania during 2010. We used hierarchical Bayesian modeling to quantify spatio-temporal patterns of L and θ. Our results suggest that the spatial distribution of tree species across the landscape created unique spatio-temporal patterns of L, which created patterns of water demand reflected in variable soil moisture across space and time. We found a lag of about 11 days between increase in L and decline in θ. Vegetation and soil moisture become increasingly homogenized and coupled from leaf-onset to maturity but heterogeneous and uncoupled from leaf maturity to senescence. Our results provide insight into spatio-temporal coupling between biodiversity and soil hydrology that is useful to enhance ecohydrological modeling in humid temperate forests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58704
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 12 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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