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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Reno, Nevada » Great Basin Rangelands Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #268573

Title: Rainfall interception and partitioning by pinus monophylla and juniperus osteosperma

item LOSSING, SAMUEL - University Of Nevada
item STRINGHAM, TAMZEN - University Of Nevada
item Weltz, Mark

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2010
Publication Date: 2/6/2011
Citation: Lossing, S., Stringham, T., Weltz, M.A. 2011. Rainfall interception and partitioning by pinus monophylla and juniperus osteosperma [abstract]. Society for Range Management. p. 242.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: This study investigated canopy interception of simulated rainfall by singleleaf piñon (Pinus monophylla) and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma) in central Nevada. Research has shown that although piñon and juniper occurred historically throughout the western United States, the infilling of woodlands and expansion into sagebrush steppe has caused a degradation of understory vegetation communities leading to increased surface runoff and soil erosion. We hypothesize that canopy interception of rainfall plays a significant role in the degradation of understory plant communities by reducing available soil water. For our study, four storm sizes 2.5, 7.6, 12.7 and 19.1 mm were applied to trees of various sizes. Interception was quantified using total precipitation applied minus stemflow and throughfall. Results of this study indicate that singleleaf piñon and Utah juniper partition throughfall and stemflow differently. Additionally, the most typical central Nevada rainfall event of 2.5 mm was almost entirely absorbed by the tree canopy. These results show canopy interception is a critical part of piñon and juniper’s ability to dominate site resources. Analysis of variance will be used to partition differences between species and storm sizes. A predictive model, determined through regression analysis, of interception as a function of tree species and allometrics is currently being developed and results will be presented.