In Xishuangbanna (Yunnan Province, southwest China), the substantial expansion of rubber plantations replaced the primary tropical forest and induced excessive water loss and soil erosion. As an irreplaceable economic tree species, there is a clear need for the improved knowledge of key factors contributing to soil erosion in this area. Thus, evaluating the spatial variability and temporal stability of the throughfall (TF) is essential for understanding potential soil water dynamics in artificial forest ecosystems.
Researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) analyzed the spatial variability of TF and its temporal stability in a rubber plantation. Specifically, they evaluated the effect of rainfall characteristics and canopy architecture on the variability of TF and described the spatial distribution of TF.
The researchers recorded 30 rainfall events by using 90 rain gauges during 2015–2016. They found a highly significant linear relationship between rainfall and throughfall, and a strong power correlation between the peak 30 min rainfall intensity and throughfall.
They also found that the coefficients of variation for TF decreased with increasing gross rainfall and rainfall intensity.
They then observed that TF had a strong spatial autocorrelation that would decrease during heavy rainfall events.
The results indicate that the leaf area index did not have a significant relationship with throughfall. However, the lateral translocation of the throughfall in the canopy significantly affected the spatial distribution of the throughfall.
Generally, the lower throughfall positions were close to the nearest rubber trunk, and the higher throughfall positions were mostly below the slope.
The study entitled “How does a rubber plantation affect the spatial variability and temporal stability of throughfall?”has been published in Hydrology Research.
LIU Wenjie Ph.D Principal Investigator
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China