• Laith Sharba

Why Forests Increase Water Use

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash. Bad Pyrmont, Deutschland

In a previous study, researchers discovered a mysterious mechanism increasing the water use in the forests, this study gives us a new view to understanding the water cycle in the forests and how soil biogeochemical control it. This study presents a major threat to the plants from stress due to acid deposition.

This study published in Science Advances journal, it explains the unknown mechanism. It all started when sulfuric acid and nitric acid fall to the soil due to fossil fuel burning, this process called soil acidification. Because of the acidification of soil, the soil loses a significant amount of calcium making plants suffering from calcium deficiency. plants changed its behavior in water use due to calcium deficiency.

The senior author of this study is professor Lixin Wang from the school of science at IUPUI, corporated with his Ph.D. student Matthew Lanning as the first author.

National Science Foundation's Hydrological Sciences program had funded the research.

The research team included:

  1. Todd Scanlon and Howard Epstein from the University of Virginia.

  2. Matthew Vadeboncoeur from the University of New Hampshire.

  3. Mary Beth Adams from the United States Forest Service.

  4. Daniel Druckenbrod from Rider University.

Dr. Wang said the calcium is very important to the plant because it controls the stomata in plants leaves and stems. lack of calcium means they can't control the pores, the pores will be open for a long time and tat's why water use increasing. lack of calcium also makes plants pump more water through transpiration.

Lanning said that they theorized that the soil calcium supply leaching by acid deposition or another way, it will increase plants water use a large scale. He also mentioned the experiment long-term whole watershed acidification present strong evidence showed the variation of calcium supply due to an acid deposition can increase the water use.

Calcium leaching has two impacts discovered by the research team, first as we said above it increased vegetable water use and the surprise is the calcium leaching decreased the water pool of soil on the treated watershed.

Wang thought the increasing of water use by the plant means less water for humans. We conclude that these plants are highly sensitive to water, making them weak to resist water stress because they can't close their pores, because of this, the loss of these plants will increase.

Traditionally, forest water use was thought-about a perform of meteorologic factors, species composition, and soil water availableness. Soil biogeochemistry on the large-scale forest is not investigated about its impacts of water use.

Nitrate and sulfate deposition are the first drivers of soil activity within the northeastern US and eastern Europe, wherever region inputs exceed soil-generated acidity.

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Indiana University. "Previously unknown mechanism causes increased forest water use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190731153813.htm>.

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