A multi-year study of rainfall and soil water controls on Scots pine transpiration under Mediterranean mountain conditions

P. Llorens*, R. Poyatos, J. Latron, J. Delgado, I. Oliveras, F. Gallart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This study is focused on the analysis of the relationship between sap-flow-derived transpiration measured in a Scots pine stand in the Vallcebre research catchments (NE Iberian Peninsula) and meteorological and rainfall data. The first part of the study is focused on the analysis of temperature and rainfall anomalies. Then, the Scots pine transpiration response to inter-annual rainfall variability, soil water stress and water table depth variations during the period 1997-2000 is analysed. This period includes the extremely dry year of 1998, which allows us to infer the response of Scots pine transpiration to severe droughts. Scots pine transpiration during the summer presented a high inter-annual variability, largely related to rainfall amounts. Daily transpiration during dry summers was 40% of the transpiration of a summer day with average rainfall. Moreover, during dry summers, transpiration rates were not fully recovered even after significant rainfall events. The analysis of the dependence of Scots pine transpiration on available water indicated the strong limitation on transpiration induced by water content in the whole soil profile as well as by water table position. Under these drought conditions, a reduction of runoff and deep water stores was observed at the catchment scale, suggesting that the predicted increase in the frequency of severe summer droughts may threaten the current role of Mediterranean mountain catchments as suppliers of water resources for lowland areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3053-3064
Number of pages12
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2010


  • Drought
  • Mediterranean area
  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Soil water content
  • Transpiration
  • Water table depth


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