Coupling soil water and shoot dynamics in three grass species: A spatial stochastic model on water competition in Neotropical savanna
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Savannas are ecosystems known for their high environmental and economic value. They cover at least 20% of the global land surface and, in some cases, can act as a boundary between tropical rainforest and deserts.Water is an important determinant of savanna ecosystems. In this paper, we present a theoretical stochastic model of root competition for water, which couples,soil water availability, phenology, and root and shoot architecture applied to three Neotropical savanna grasses. Soil moisture was simulated using a daily balance, as proposed by Rodriguez-Iturbe et al. [Rodriguez-Iturbe, I., Porporato, A., Ridolfi, L., Isham, V., Cox, D.R., 1999. Probabilistic modelling of water balance at a point: the role of climate, soil and vegetation. Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A 455, 3789–3805.]. To simulate rainfall stochasticity, we used daily precipitation data fromthe airport weather station in the State of Barinas, Venezuela, for the period 1991–2007. Competition among neighbouring plants took into account the spatial distribution of the individuals. As a final step, the model allowed us to calculate the shoot dynamic of the species as a function of soil water availability. Using these data, we compared the behaviour of isolated plants, pairs and trios, and we found belowground competition to be a fundamental component of global (shoot + root) competition. Finally, our model suggests various circumstances that allow poor competitor plants to coexist in competition for water with more successful competitors. Apparently, this is not only due to transpiration rates, but also to differences in shoot emergence and shoot growth.
|Editor||Ecological Modelling 220: 2734 - 2743|
|Colación||2734 - 2743|
|Institución||Universidad de Los Andes|