Presented By: Utah State University Extension Forestry
Featured Research: Plant water use: Implications for climate change, competition, fire dynamics and biosphere-atmosphere interactions Andrew Kulmatiski, Assistant Professor, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Due to difficulties of working belowground we lack good estimates of timing, location, and extent of root activity and water use by different plant species in semi-arid systems. Here, a depth-specific tracer technique describes timing, location and extent of water use by plants in sites from around the world.
Results show that 1) trees typically rely on surprising shallow soils and 2) trees and other woody plants are able to rapidly change rooting patterns within growing seasons to ‘follow the water’. I discuss how these rooting patterns are likely to affect forest distributions in response to anticipated climate change.