Response of shelterbelt transpiration to shallow groundwater in arid areas

Jiali Du, Xingwang Wang, Zailin Huo, Huade Guan, Yunwu Xiong, Guanhua Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Shelterbelts play an important ecological function in arid irrigation land, while competing for water which otherwise supports crop growth. Estimation of shelterbelt water consumption from groundwater is essential to better manage shelterbelts in irrigation districts, but often a challenging task due to its geometry and varying accessibility to groundwater. In the study, sap flow of Populus popularis planted along an irrigation canal was measured during two growing seasons (2016–2017) to investigate its response to varying shallow groundwater. Considering the radial pattern of sap flux density (Js) and measurement azimuthal effect, corrected Js was adopted to better represent transpiration. The results indicate that increased soil moisture and groundwater table during irrigation periods with water flowing in the canal enhance relative Js of shelterbelt by 5.5–25.8% from the non-irrigation intervals. The threshold of groundwater depth (3.6 m) is identified, beyond which transpiration of the seven-year-old shelterbelt becomes very low. Greenbelt transpiration strongly depends on groundwater within the threshold, and can be estimated through an exponential function of the ratio of atmospheric demand and groundwater depth. Besides, with the decrease of reference evapotranspiration from June to September, the sensitivity of shelterbelt transpiration response to groundwater table depth was increased. This study provides necessary information to evaluate farmland shelterbelt transpiration for rational water resource allocation to meet the ecological water requirement in arid areas with shallow groundwater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125611
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Early online date16 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Canal irrigation water
  • Groundwater depth
  • Relative sap flux density
  • Shelterbelt transpiration


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