College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Black ash (Fraxinus nigra Marsh.) exhibits canopy dominance in regularly inundated wetlands, suggesting advantageous adaptation. Black ash mortality due to emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) will alter canopy composition and site hydrology. Retention of these forested wetlands requires understanding black ash’s ecohydrologic role. Our study examined the response of sap flux to water level and atmospheric drivers in three codominant species: black ash, red maple (Acer rubrum L.), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis Britt.), in depressional wetlands in western Michigan, USA. The influence of water level on sap flux rates and response to vapor pressure deficit (VPD) was tested among species. Black ash had significantly greater sap flux than non-black ash at all water levels (80–160% higher). Black ash showed a significant increase (45%) in sap flux rates as water levels decreased. Black ash and red maple showed significant increases in response to VPD as water levels decreased (112% and 56%, respectively). Exploration of alternative canopy species has focused on the survival and growth of seedlings, but our findings show important differences in water use and response to hydrologic drivers among species. Understanding how a replacement species will respond to the expected altered hydrologic regimes of black ash wetlands following EAB infestation will improve species selection.
Van Grinsven, M.,
Water level controls on sap flux of canopy species in black ash wetlands.
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