Transpiration on the rebound in lowland Sumatra

Röll, A.; Niu, F.; Meijide, A.; Ahongshangbam, J.; Ehbrecht, M.; Guillaume, T.; Gunawan, D.; Hardanto, A.; Hendrayanto, ?; Hertel, D.; Kotowska, M.M.; Kreft, H.; Kuzyakov, Y.; Leuschner, C.; Nomura, M.; Polle, A.; Rembold, Katja; Sahner, J.; Seidel, D.; Zemp, D.C.; ... (2019). Transpiration on the rebound in lowland Sumatra. Agricultural and forest meteorology, 274, pp. 160-171. Elsevier 10.1016/j.agrformet.2019.04.017

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Following large-scale conversion of rainforest, rubber and oil palm plantations dominate lowland Sumatra (Indonesia) and other parts of South East Asia today, with potentially far-reaching ecohydrological consequences. We assessed how such land-use change affects plant transpiration by sap flux measurements at 42 sites in selectively logged rainforests, agroforests and rubber and oil palm monoculture plantations in the lowlands of Sumatra. Site-to-site variability in stand-scale transpiration and tree-level water use were explained by stand structure, productivity, soil properties and plantation age. Along a land-use change trajectory forest-rubber-oil palm, time-averaged transpiration decreases by 43 ± 11% from forest to rubber monoculture plantations, but rebounds with conversion to smallholder oil palm plantations. We uncovered that particularly commercial, intensive oil palm cultivation leads to high transpiration (827 ± 77 mm yr−1), substantially surpassing rates at our forest sites (589 ± 52 mm yr−1). Compared to smallholder oil palm, land-use intensification leads to 1.7-times higher transpiration in commercial plantations. Combined with severe soil degradation, the high transpiration may cause periodical water scarcity for humans in oil palm-dominated landscapes. As oil palm is projected to further expand, severe shifts in water cycling after land-cover change and water scarcity due to land-use intensification may become more widespread.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


13 Central Units > Administrative Director's Office > Botanical Garden
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Rembold, Katja


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

02 Jul 2019 08:39

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:28

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

forest; jungle rubber; land-cover change; land-use intensification: oil palm: tropics: rubber plantation; sap flux; water use




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