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Plastic film cover during the fallow season preceding sowing increases yield and water use efficiency of rain-fed spring maize in a semi-arid climate
Zhang, Zhe ; Zhang, Yanqing ; Sun, Zhanxiang ; Zheng, Jiaming ; Liu, Enke ; Feng, Liangshan ; Feng, Chen ; Si, Pengfei ; Bai, Wei ; Cai, Qian ; Yang, Ning ; Werf, Wopke van der; Zhang, Lizhen - \ 2019
Agricultural Water Management 212 (2019). - ISSN 0378-3774 - p. 203 - 210.
Film cover - Soil temperature - Water availability - Yield components
Plastic film mulch increases crop yields in rain-fed agriculture in cool semi-arid climates by warming the soil and reducing evaporative water losses. The semi-arid Khorchin area in Northeast China is an important production area for rain-fed maize. Drought stress occurs frequently, even if plastic film mulch is applied at sowing. We hypothesized that the yield and water capture of maize could be increased by reducing evaporative loss of water by use of plastic film cover during the autumn and winter preceding sowing. In this study, we compared maize growth, water uptake and yield in three film cover treatments: (1) film cover from the autumn before maize sowing until maize harvest (autumn mulching: AM), (2) film cover from maize sowing till harvest (conventional practice) (spring mulching: SM), (3) no film cover (no mulch: NM). Field experiments were conducted in Fuxin city, Khorchin region, Liaoning province, China in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015. Autumn mulching increased grain yield on average by 18% when compared to spring mulching and by 36% when compared to no mulching. The 1000-kernel weight in AM was 7% higher than in SM, and 12% higher than in NM. Soil water content in the root zone before sowing was 35 mm greater in AM than in SM and NM. Water uptake during the growing season was 34 mm greater in AM than in SM and NM. Water use efficiency for grain yield (yield per unit water uptake) in AM was on average 2.5% higher than in conventional mulching (SM) and 27% higher than in NM. Autumn mulching advanced development, with an advance of 5 days in tasseling time as compared to SM and 10 days when compared to NM. These results show that film cover during the fallow period before maize sowing can increase crop yield and water use efficiency, and reduce climate risks in rain-fed agriculture under semi-arid conditions.
Evaporation from (Blue-)Green Roofs : Assessing the benefits of a storage and capillary irrigation system based on measurements and modeling
Cirkel, Dirk Gijsbert ; Voortman, Bernard R. ; Veen, Thijs van; Bartholomeus, Ruud P. - \ 2018
Water 10 (2018)9. - ISSN 2073-4441
Blue-green roofs - Capillary irrigation - Latent heat flux - Lysimeter - Potential and actual evaporation - Sedums - Sensible heat flux - Urban areas - Water availability
Worldwide cities are facing increasing temperatures due to climate change and increasing urban density. Green roofs are promoted as a climate adaptation measure to lower air temperatures and improve comfort in urban areas, especially during intensive dry and warm spells. However, there is much debate on the effectiveness of this measure, because of a lack of fundamental knowledge about evaporation from different green roof systems. In this study, we investigate the water and energy balance of different roof types on a rooftop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Based on lysimeter measurements and modeling, we compared the water and energy balance of a conventional green roof with blue-green roofs equipped with a novel storage and capillary irrigation system. The roofs were covered either with Sedum or by grasses and herbs. Our measurements and modeling showed that conventional green roof systems (i.e., a Sedum cover and a few centimeters of substrate) have a low evaporation rate and due to a rapid decline in available moisture, a minor cooling effect. Roofs equipped with a storage and capillary irrigation system showed a remarkably large evaporation rate for Sedum species behaving as C3 plants during hot, dry periods. Covered with grasses and herbs, the evaporation rate was even larger. Precipitation storage and capillary irrigation strongly reduced the number of days with dry-out events. Implementing these systems therefore could lead to better cooling efficiencies in cities.
Soilwater conservation : Dynamics and impact
Prima, Simone Di; Castellini, Mirko ; Pirastru, Mario ; Keesstra, Saskia - \ 2018
Water 10 (2018)7. - ISSN 2073-4441
Crop yields - Soil erosion - Soil water storage - Sustainable land management - Water and soil conservation - Water availability - Water infiltration
Human needs like food and clean water are directly related to good maintenance of healthy and productive soils. A good understanding of human impact on the natural environment is therefore necessary to preserve and manage soil and water resources. This knowledge is particularly important in semi-arid and arid regions, where the increasing demands on limited water supplies require urgent efforts to improve water quality and water use efficiency. It is important to keep in mind that both soil and water are limited resources. Thus, wise use of these natural resources is a fundamental prerequisite for the sustainability of human societies. This Special Issue collects 15 original contributions addressing the state of the art of soil and water conservation research. Contributions cover a wide range of topics, including (1) recovery of soil hydraulic properties; (2) erosion risk; (3) novel modeling, monitoring and experimental approaches for soil hydraulic characterization; (4) improvement of crop yields; (5) water availability; and (6) soil salinity. The collection of manuscripts presented in this Special Issue provides more insights into conservation strategies for effective and sustainable soil and water management.
Drought and soil fertility modify fertilization effects on aphid performance in wheat
Tamburini, Giovanni ; Gils, Stijn van; Kos, Martine ; Putten, Wim van der; Marini, Lorenzo - \ 2018
Basic and Applied Ecology 30 (2018). - ISSN 1439-1791 - p. 23 - 31.
Agricultural intensification - Cereals - Climate change - Grain aphid - Nitrogen - Soil organic matter - Water availability
Agricultural intensification and climate change are expected to affect pest performance through excessive inputs of chemical fertilizers and increased probability of extreme drought events. Potential interactive effects of fertilization and water availability on aboveground pest performance may depend on soil fertility because of its effect on nutrient availability. In a greenhouse experiment, we examined the effects of inorganic fertilization on the performance of the grain aphid (Sitobion avenae, F.), an important pest of wheat, under different conditions of soil fertility and water availability. We found soil fertility and water availability to influence the positive effects of inorganic fertilizers on aphid growth, i.e. fertilization promoted faster aphid development time and higher fecundity and biomass under low fertility and under well-watered conditions. Moreover, although increased soil fertility favored aphid growth under well-watered conditions, it simultaneously sustained plant development. The current practices promoting soil fertility do not have direct negative consequence on crop protection under conventional cropping systems.
Biotic resistance affects growth and reproduction, but not survival of a high-impact woody invader in African savannas
Beest, Mariska te; Mpandza, Nokukhanya J. ; Olff, Han - \ 2018
Journal of Vegetation Science 29 (2018)3. - ISSN 1100-9233 - p. 532 - 540.
Chromolaena odorata - Colonization - Drought - Exotic species - Experiment - Grassland - Impact - Invasion - Moisture - Persistence - Water availability
Question: Biotic resistance is defined as the reduction in invasion success caused by the native community through competition, herbivory and/or pathogens. Biotic resistance has mostly been studied during the initial stages of invasion. However, to what extent biotic resistance hampers survival, or persistence, of invaders in the longer term is often not known. We studied how native grassland communities affected growth, reproduction and survival during the adult life stage of the high-impact woody invader Chromolaena odorata under different water availability treatments. Location: Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa. Methods: We performed a 2-years full-factorial field experiment in a savanna grassland where we manipulated water availability and neighbouring vegetation; in one-third of the plots vegetation was cleared and planted with C. odorata monocultures, in one-third C. odorata shrubs were planted in grasslands, and one-third were unplanted grassland controls. Results: Growth and reproduction of adult C. odorata were greatly reduced due to competition with native grasses, but not survival of C. odorata. Shrub survival was high and did not differ in plots with and without grass. Water availability did not affect growth, reproduction and competitive ability of C. odorata, but higher water availability did increase the competitive ability of the grasses. Soil moisture levels were lower in grasslands planted with C. odorata compared to unplanted controls, independent of the water treatment, suggesting higher water use of C. odorata compared to native grasses. Conclusions: Savanna grasslands have a strong competitive effect on invasion by the exotic woody shrub C. odorata, reducing growth and reproduction, but not survival of the shrub. We found no evidence that biotic resistance was stronger under more unfavourable abiotic conditions, as C. odorata was equally impacted in all water treatments. The high survival rates of C. odorata suggest that competitive interactions are not likely to prevent invader persistence in the landscape. Invader persistence is important in determining longer-term invasion success as well as invader impact, and the concept of persistence should not be overlooked in studies on invasive species.
The implication of irrigation in climate change impact assessment : A European-wide study
Zhao, Gang ; Webber, Heidi ; Hoffmann, Holger ; Wolf, Joost ; Siebert, Stefan ; Ewert, Frank - \ 2015
Global Change Biology 21 (2015)11. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 4031 - 4048.
Climate change - CO effects - Crop model - Irrigation - LINTUL - SIMPLACE - Water availability - Yield change
This study evaluates the impacts of projected climate change on irrigation requirements and yields of six crops (winter wheat, winter barley, rapeseed, grain maize, potato, and sugar beet) in Europe. Furthermore, the uncertainty deriving from consideration of irrigation, CO2 effects on crop growth and transpiration, and different climate change scenarios in climate change impact assessments is quantified. Net irrigation requirement (NIR) and yields of the six crops were simulated for a baseline (1982-2006) and three SRES scenarios (B1, B2 and A1B, 2040-2064) under rainfed and irrigated conditions, using a process-based crop model, SIMPLACE . We found that projected climate change decreased NIR of the three winter crops in northern Europe (up to 81 mm), but increased NIR of all the six crops in the Mediterranean regions (up to 182 mm yr-1). Climate change increased yields of the three winter crops and sugar beet in middle and northern regions (up to 36%), but decreased their yields in Mediterranean countries (up to 81%). Consideration of CO2 effects can alter the direction of change in NIR for irrigated crops in the south and of yields for C3 crops in central and northern Europe. Constraining the model to rainfed conditions for spring crops led to a negative bias in simulating climate change impacts on yields (up to 44%), which was proportional to the irrigation ratio of the simulation unit. Impacts on NIR and yields were generally consistent across the three SRES scenarios for the majority of regions in Europe. We conclude that due to the magnitude of irrigation and CO2 effects, they should both be considered in the simulation of climate change impacts on crop production and water availability, particularly for crops and regions with a high proportion of irrigated crop area.