Silva, B.; Alava Núñez, P.; Strobl, S.; Beck, E. & Bendix, J. (2017): <b>Area-wide evapotranspiration monitoring at the crown level of a tropical mountain rain forest</b>. <i>Remote Sensing of Environment</i> <b>194</b>, 219–229.
Area-wide evapotranspiration monitoring at the crown level of a tropical mountain rain forest
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erwin.beck <at> uni-bayreuth.de
Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Geoscience
University of Bayreuth
bendix <at> staff.uni-marburg.de
Faculty of Geography
Philipps University of Marburg
Laboratory for Climatology and Remote Sensing
Ecosystem water regulation couples energy and water balance, depends on the integrity of the ecosystem, and responds to changes in climate. Changes in tree-water relationships in the biodiversity hotspot of the tropical Andes in southern Ecuador might be potentially observed at the level of individual trees, thus providing an efficient ecosystem monitoring method with applications in forest management and conservation at the tree and landscape levels. In this study, we combine area-average measurements from a laser scintillometer above the forest with optical satellite data at high spatial resolution to obtain area-wide evapotranspiration data. The processing of field data includes the calculation of energy storage in forest biomass and the partitioning of evapotranspiration into transpiration and evaporation. Satellite-based estimates are calibrated by using tower flux measurements and meteorological data within periods of humid and less-humid atmosphere. The annual evapotranspiration was 1316 mm, of which 1086 mm per year corresponds to the forest transpiration at the study site. Average values of 4.7 and 4.1 mm d-1 per tree crown are observed under humid and less-humid atmospheric conditions, respectively, when applying high-resolution area-wide evapotranspiration in individual crown analysis. Approximately 24% of the observed crowns show a positive monthly change in ET, and 51% of the crowns show a significant change in the daily ET, which can be considered sensitive individuals concerning water relationships. The limitations in the area-wide evapotranspiration at the crown level can be explained by considering the spectral responses of the crown individuals. The presented method can be robustly deployed in the ecological monitoring of mountain forests.