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Water is important, especially for those plants living in the arid lands. As the ecological protection screen for the oasis agriculture, farmland shelterbelts usually show high mortality due to water shortage.

A team of scientists from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) recently adopted a new method combing sap flow measurements and modelling to assess water needs in an oasis farmland shelterbelt in Northwest China.

Their research was published in the recent issue of Agricultural Water Management.

Sap flow techniques are usually used to estimate the transpiration from canopies of woody plants. But sap flow alone cannot explain the response of soil water and meteorological factors.

Dr. FU Shuai, a researcher of the study found “Coupled with a model, this issue could be resolved” ..

They analyzed the relationships between canopy transpiration, canopy conductance, relative extractable water and atmospheric factors in a farmland shelterbelt and evaluated the effectiveness of the model.

Through further analysis, they got that the simultaneous use of sap flow records and model values provides more detailed information to assess water needs in a farmland shelterbelt, which has an important significance for farmland shelterbelt protection.

Water-saving agricultural technology is widely used in semi-arid regions. However, frequent use of these techniques either prevents water side supplying or deep percolation, causing the farmland shelterbelt to decline.

Improving the recognition of plant water consumption has important significance for farmland shelterbelt protection. Future research is needed to confirm these results and analyze the influence of groundwater and the atmosphere, according to LUO YI, a researcher from XIEG who led the study.

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