Moore, G., G. Orozco, L.M.T. Aparecido, G.R. Miller (2018). Upscaling transpiration in diverse forests: Insights from a tropical pre-montane site, Ecohydrology, 11(3): e1920 https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.1920.
Upscaling water use of individual trees to stands using sap flux techniques is a common method for partitioning site water balance, but few such studies have occurred in the tropics. Increasing interests in the role of tropical forests in global cycles have spurred upscaling studies in natural tropical forests, which present challenges from greater tree species and functional diversity, and potential factors that would reduce transpiration, such as frequent cloud cover and wet canopy conditions. In a premontane wet tropical forest in central Costa Rica, sap flow was measured in 15 trees stratified into five size classes based on tree diameters. None of the trees belonged to the same species, genus, or even family. We also accounted for potential radial variation in sap flux density. Data were scaled to estimate transpiration within a small 2.2-ha watershed using stand surveys of sapwood area. Stand transpiration averaged only 1.4 ± 0.7 mm d-1 within this forested watershed due to persistent low radiation, evaporative demand, and frequent wet canopy conditions. Our systematic approach used tree size attributes to scale water use to the stand, given difficulties to quantify species differences in such a diverse ecosystem. Contrary to previous evidence on temperate trees, the large trees sampled did not exhibit flow reductions in deeper sapwood, which warrants further study. These results highlight some unique aspects of measuring transpiration in wet tropical forests that are important to consider for future studies in diverse stands.