New Forests

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 303–317 | Cite as

Wood production per evapotranspiration was increased by irrigation in plantations of Eucalyptus globulus and E. nitens

  • Don A. White
  • Christopher L. Beadle
  • Dale Worledge
  • John L. Honeysett


Wood volume growth per unit evapotranspiration was calculated from water balance and growth measurements in irrigated and water-limited Eucalyptus globulus and E. nitens plantations in the 3rd, 4th and 5th year of growth. Wood volume growth per unit evapotranspiration (plantation water productivity) was increased by irrigation for both species in the 3rd and 4th growing year but only in E. nitens in the 5th year. Irrigated trees required significantly less water than water-limited trees to produce 1 m3 of wood. At the same site, stomatal conductance was significantly greater in irrigated compared to water stressed trees through spring, summer and early autumn of each year. These data provide indirect evidence that leaf-scale measures of water-use efficiency are not well correlated with stand-scale measures of plantation water productivity. This was probably due to increased proportional allocation of assimilated carbon to stem wood in the irrigated compared to the water-limited stands. These results are consistent with recent studies in Brazil and Australia and suggest that plantation management systems, inclusive of tree breeding, that maximise growth rather than leaf-scale water-use efficiency, will also maximise the amount of wood produced from each unit of water used by the stand.


Water-use efficiency Drought Stomatal conductance Transpiration efficiency 



Financial support was provided by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (Project 8848—Introduction and Cultivation Experiments for Australian Broad-Leaved Tree Species). A CRC Postgraduate Scholarship to DA White is also acknowledged. We thank Messrs D and P Tinning for providing the plantation site and access to water for irrigation and Mr Kim Badcock for technical assistance in the establishment phase of the experiment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Don A. White
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christopher L. Beadle
    • 4
    • 5
  • Dale Worledge
    • 4
  • John L. Honeysett
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Plant Science and National Centre for Future Forest IndustriesUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  3. 3.Whitegum Forest and Natural Resources Pty LtdMidlandAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Land and Water FlagshipHobartAustralia
  5. 5.Tasmanian Institute of AgricultureUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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