Temporal and spatial variation of fine roots in a northern Australian Eucalyptus tetrodonta savanna

David Janos, John Scott, David M J S Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Six rhizotrons in an Eucalyptus tetrodonta savanna revealed seasonal changes in the abundance of fine roots (≤ 5 mm diameter). Fine roots were almost completely absent from the upper 1 m of soil during the dry season, but proliferated after the onset of wet-season rains. At peak abundance of 3.9 kg m-2 soil surface, fine roots were distributed relatively uniformly throughout 1 m depth, in contrast with many tropical savannas and tropical dry forests in which fine roots are most abundant near the soil surface. After 98% of cumulative annual rainfall had been received, fine roots began to disappear rapidly, such that 76 d later, less than 5.8% of peak abundance remained. The scarcity of fine roots in the upper 1 m of soil early in the dry season suggests that evergreen trees may be able to extract water from below 1 m throughout the dry season. Persistent deep roots together with abundant fine roots in the upper 1 m of soil during the wet season constitute a 'dual' root system. Deep roots might buffer atmospheric CO2 against increase by sequestering carbon at depth in the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-188
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008

Fingerprint

Eucalyptus tetrodonta
fine root
savanna
savannas
temporal variation
spatial variation
dry season
soil
wet season
soil surface
evergreen tree
rain
dry forest
dry forests
fine roots
root system
tropical forests
soil depth
tropical forest
root systems

Keywords

  • Open forest
  • Rhizotron
  • Root depth profile
  • Root phenology
  • Root-length density
  • Savanna woodland
  • Small roots
  • Traced root abundance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Temporal and spatial variation of fine roots in a northern Australian Eucalyptus tetrodonta savanna. / Janos, David; Scott, John; Bowman, David M J S.

In: Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol. 24, No. 2, 01.03.2008, p. 177-188.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Janos, David ; Scott, John ; Bowman, David M J S. / Temporal and spatial variation of fine roots in a northern Australian Eucalyptus tetrodonta savanna. In: Journal of Tropical Ecology. 2008 ; Vol. 24, No. 2. pp. 177-188.
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