Sap flow characteristics and their response to environmental variables in a desert riparian forest along lower Heihe River Basin, Northwest China

  • Wei Li
  • TengFei Yu
  • XiaoYan Li
  • ChunYan Zhao


Hysteresis, related to tree sap flow and associated environmental variables, plays a critical ecological role in the comprehensive understanding of forest water use dynamics. Nevertheless, only limited researches related to this unique ecological phenomenon have been conducted to date in desert riparian forests under extreme arid regions. Populus euphratica Oliv sap flow velocity (VS) was measured during the 2012 growing season using the heat ratio method, at the same time as environmental variables, such as photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), vapor pressure deficit (VPD), and leaf water potential. We found clockwise patterns of hysteresis between VS and VPD but anticlockwise patterns between VS and PAR. Pronounced hysteretic VS lag time, a function of PAR and VPD, was approximately 1.0~1.5 and −0.5 h, respectively. Hysteresis was primarily caused by the biophysical declining in canopy conductance. Sigmoid response of VS to synthetic meteorological variables was enhanced by approximately 56 % after hysteresis calibration to sunny days. Consequently, hysteresis can be seen as a protection mechanism for plants to avoid the overlapping of peak VS and environmental variables. Furthermore, the consistent presence of hysteresis suggested that estimating of plant water use in large temporal and spatial models may require certain provisions to different VS responses to variables between morning and afternoon and between seasons.


Sap flow Hysteresis Principal component analysis Canopy conductance Populus euphratica 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91225301, 912253003), the Key Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZZD-EW-04-05), and the West Light Foundation of Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • TengFei Yu
    • 3
  • XiaoYan Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • ChunYan Zhao
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Resources Science and TechnologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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