Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
COMMENT AND RESPONSE

Comment on Wood et al. 2008, ‘Impacts of fire on forest age and runoff in mountain ash forests’

Richard Benyon A F , Shane Haydon B , Rob Vertessy C , Tom Hatton D , George Kuczera E , Paul Feikema A and Patrick Lane A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The University of Melbourne, 221 Bouverie Street, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Melbourne Water, PO Box 4342, East Melbourne, Vic. 3002, Australia.

C Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 2334, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

D CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Research Flagship, CSIRO, Floreat Laboratories Underwood Avenue, Floreat, WA 6014, Australia.

E The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: rbenyon@unimelb.edu.au

Functional Plant Biology 37(12) 1187-1191 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP10141
Submitted: 7 September 2010  Accepted: 24 September 2010   Published: 17 November 2010

Abstract

Wood et al. (2008; FPB 35) concluded their measurements of evapotranspiration (ET) in Eucalyptus regnans F.Muell. forest at Wallaby Creek, Victoria showed that ET differs only slightly between regrowth and oldgrowth, contrary to the findings of previous research. We assert that the conclusions of Wood et al. are invalid and argue that Wood et al. substantially overestimated annual transpiration and rainfall. Monthly whole-forest ET measured by Wood et al. using eddy covariance in a 296-year-old stand sum to ~700 mm year–1; consistent with rainfall of 721 mm year–1 recorded nearby by the Bureau of Meteorology. However, the Wood et al. conclusions were based on 1077 mm annual transpiration at this site, which appears to be estimated from a few months of heat pulse velocity measurements. Transpiration alone cannot be 54% higher than whole-forest ET because the latter includes transpiration, rainfall interception and evaporation from the forest floor. We believe Wood et al. made errors in scaling heat pulse velocities to whole-stand annual transpiration. Their rainfall of 1175 mm year–1 averages 62% higher than at three Bureau of Meteorology and Melbourne Water sites nearby. The paper also contains inaccuracies in reporting of the literature and numerous other errors.

Additional keywords: eddy covariance, Eucalyptus regnans, evapotranspiration, rainfall, sap flow, transpiration.


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