Huang, M., Barbour, S. L., Elshorbagy, A., Zettl, J. D. and Si, B. C. 2011. Water availability and forest growth in coarse-textured soils. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91: 199-210. A method of evaluating the influence of soil layering and climatic variability on plant available water for forest growth is presented. This method enables species-specific levels of maximum sustainable plant transpiration to be evaluated. A calibrated HYDRUS-1D model was used with a 60-yr meteorological record to simulate actual evapotransipration (ETa) of dominant tree species with different values of leaf area index (LAI) for three sites in northern Alberta. A probability distribution of ETa was developed for each case. The relationships between LAI, plant above-ground primary production (ANPP), and ETa were used to estimate the minimum water demand to support plant growth at specific sites. The developed frequency curves of ETa and the minimum water demand can be used to determine the maximum sustainable LAI and the risk associated with revegetating a particular site with a dominant tree species. The effect of different tree species on the minimum water demand and the maximum sustainable LAI was also illustrated. The results indicated that layering of coarse-textured soils can provide more plant available water and support a higher maximum sustainable LAI than homogeneous soils of a similar texture.
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Vol. 91 • No. 2