Simulated Water Budgets for an Irrigated Sycamore Phytomass Farm

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A simulated sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.) phytomass farm on a coastal plain site in South Carolina was analyzed with a soil-plant-water budget model to identify and quantify water-related impacts. Input data for the model were obtained from the literature, from personal communication, or from assumed values based on available surrogate data. A 13-year management scenario included the clearing of a coniferous forest followed by the establishment and growth of intensive culture sycamore. A phytomass harvest was assumed after the 7th year followed by 6 years of sycamore coppice regrowth. A baseline case without irrigation and six irrigation cases (maintaining soil water potential at or above -4, -2, -1, -0.5, -0.3, and -0.1 bars, respectively) were simulated. Output from these water budget simulations included surface runoff, soil drainage, irrigation requirement, and leaf water potential. No surface runoff was estimated in any of the simulation cases, indicating negligible soil erosion potential. Soil drainage showed a tenfold increase between the initial coniferous forest and the average drainage for the phytomass farm. A large portion (74-100 percent) of the irrigation applications contributed to additional drainage. Forest Sci. 28:17-30.

Keywords: Platanus occidentalis; biomass; drainage; evapotranspiration; leaf water potential; soil-plant-atmosphere model

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (operated by Union Carbide Corporation under contract W-7405-eng-26 with the U.S. Department of Energy), Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830

Publication date: March 1, 1982

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