Leaves from mangrove forests are often considered efficient in the use of water during photosynthesis, but less is known about whole-tree and stand-level water use strategies. Are mangrove forests as conservative in water use as experimental studies on seedlings imply? Here, we apply a simple model to estimate stand water use (S), determine the contribution of S to evapotranspiration (ET), and approximate the distribution of S versus ET over annual cycles for three mangrove forests in southwest Florida, USA. The value of S ranged from 350 to 511mmyear-1 for two mangrove forests in Rookery Bay to 872mmyear-1 for a mangrove forest along the Shark River in Everglades National Park. This represents 34-49% of ET for Rookery Bay mangroves, a rather conservative rate of S, and 63-66% of ET for the Shark River mangroves, a less conservative rate of S. However, variability in estimates of S in mangroves is high enough to require additional study on the spatial changes related to forest structural shifts, different tidal regimes, and variable site-specific salinity concentrations in multiple mangrove forests before a true account of water use conservation strategies can be understood at the landscape scale. Evidence does suggest that large, well-developed mangrove forests have the potential to contribute considerably to the ET balance; however, regionally most mangrove forests are much smaller in stature in Florida and likely contribute less to regional water losses through stand-level transpiration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Atmospheric Science