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  1. Abstract Aims

    Grassland-to-shrubland transition is a common form of land degradation in drylands worldwide. It is often attributed to changes in disturbance regimes, particularly overgrazing. A myriad of direct and indirect effects (e.g., accelerated soil erosion) of grazing may favor shrubs over grasses, but their relative importance is unclear. We tested the hypothesis that topsoil “winnowing” by wind erosion would differentially affect grass and shrub seedling establishment to promote shrub recruitment over that of grass.

    Methods

    We monitored germination and seedling growth of contrasting perennial grass (Bouteloua eriopoda,Sporobolus airoides, andAristida purpurea) and shrub (Prosopis glandulosa,Atriplex canescens, andLarrea tridentata) functional groups on field-collected non-winnowed and winnowed soils under well-watered greenhouse conditions.

    Results

    Non-winnowed soils were finer-textured and had higher nutrient contents than winnowed soils, but based on desorption curves, winnowed soils had more plant-available moisture. Contrary to expectations, seed germination and seedling growth on winnowed and non-winnowed soils were comparable within a given species. The N2-fixing deciduous shrubP. glandulosawas first to emerge and complete germination, and had the greatest biomass accumulation of all species.

    Conclusions

    Germination and early seedling growth of grasses and shrubs on winnowed soils were not adversely nor differentially affected comparing with that observed on non-winnowed soils under well-watered greenhouse conditions. Early germination and rapid growth may giveP. glandulosaa competitive advantage over grasses and other shrub species at the establishment stage in grazed grasslands. Field establishment experiments are needed to confirm our findings in these controlled environment trials.

     
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  2. In this dataset, we report ecophysiological variables of contrasting perennial grass (Bouteloua eriopoda, Sporobolus airoides, and Aristida purpurea) and shrub (Prosopis glandulosa, Atriplex canescens, and Larrea tridentata) functional groups before and after a series of simulated sandblasting events with various intensities and frequencies. We hypothesized that grass species are more susceptible to the resulting "sandblasting" (i.e., abrasive damage by wind-blown particulates) than shrubs, thus contributing to the shift from grass to shrub dominance. To test this, we conducted a wind tunnel experiment at the USDA Jornada Experimental Range in 2018 and 2019 growing seasons. Potted plants were subjected to different levels of sandblasting in a novel portable wind tunnel, and plants’ ecophysiological responses including leaf gas exchange and nighttime leaf stomatal conductance were quantified. All tested plants were then grown in benign greenhouse conditions to investigate plant recovery post sandblasting. This dataset contains data about plant biomass and height, leaf chlorophyll content, leaf gas exchange, stomatal conductance, and water use efficiency (WUE) under the experimental treatments above. This study is complete. 
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  3. Abstract

    By mediating evapotranspiration processes, plant canopies play an important role in the terrestrial water cycle and regional climate. Substantial uncertainties exist in modeling canopy water interception and related hydrological processes due to rainfall forcing frequency selection and varying canopy traits. Here we design a new time interpolation method “zero” to better represent convective‐type precipitation in tropical regions. We also implement and recalibrate plant functional type‐specific interception parameters for rainforests and oil palm plantations, where oil palms express higher water interception capacity than forests, using the Community Land Model (CLM) versions 4.5 and 5.0 with CLM‐Palm embedded. Reconciling the interception scheme with realistic precipitation forcing produces more accurate canopy evaporation and transpiration for both plant functional types, which in turn improves simulated evapotranspiration and energy partitioning when benchmarked against observations from our study sites in Indonesia and an extensive literature review. Regional simulations for Sumatra and Kalimantan show that industrial oil palm plantations have 18–27% higher transpiration and 15–20% higher evapotranspiration than forests on an annual regional average basis across different ages or successional stages, even though the forests experience higher average precipitation according to reanalysis data. Our land‐only modeling results indicate that current oil palm plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan use 15–20% more water (mean 220 mm or 20 Gt) per year compared to lowland rainforests of the same extent. The extra water use by oil palm reduces soil moisture and runoff that could affect ecosystem services such as productivity of staple crops and availability of drinking water in rural areas.

     
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  4. Abstract. Plant transpiration links physiological responses ofvegetation to water supply and demand with hydrological, energy, and carbonbudgets at the land–atmosphere interface. However, despite being the mainland evaporative flux at the global scale, transpiration and its response toenvironmental drivers are currently not well constrained by observations.Here we introduce the first global compilation of whole-plant transpirationdata from sap flow measurements (SAPFLUXNET, https://sapfluxnet.creaf.cat/, last access: 8 June 2021).We harmonized and quality-controlled individual datasets supplied bycontributors worldwide in a semi-automatic data workflow implemented in theR programming language. Datasets include sub-daily time series of sap flowand hydrometeorological drivers for one or more growing seasons, as well asmetadata on the stand characteristics, plant attributes, and technicaldetails of the measurements. SAPFLUXNET contains 202 globally distributeddatasets with sap flow time series for 2714 plants, mostly trees, of 174species. SAPFLUXNET has a broad bioclimatic coverage, withwoodland/shrubland and temperate forest biomes especially well represented(80 % of the datasets). The measurements cover a wide variety of standstructural characteristics and plant sizes. The datasets encompass theperiod between 1995 and 2018, with 50 % of the datasets being at least 3 years long. Accompanying radiation and vapour pressure deficit data areavailable for most of the datasets, while on-site soil water content isavailable for 56 % of the datasets. Many datasets contain data for speciesthat make up 90 % or more of the total stand basal area, allowing theestimation of stand transpiration in diverse ecological settings. SAPFLUXNETadds to existing plant trait datasets, ecosystem flux networks, and remotesensing products to help increase our understanding of plant water use,plant responses to drought, and ecohydrological processes. SAPFLUXNET version0.1.5 is freely available from the Zenodo repository (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3971689; Poyatos et al., 2020a). The“sapfluxnetr” R package – designed to access, visualize, and processSAPFLUXNET data – is available from CRAN. 
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