Variation in leaf area density drives the rainfall storage capacity of individual urban tree species

Dias Baptista, M, Livesley, S, Parmehr, E, Neave, M and Amati, M 2018, 'Variation in leaf area density drives the rainfall storage capacity of individual urban tree species', Hydrological Processes, vol. 32, no. 25, pp. 3729-3740.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Variation in leaf area density drives the rainfall storage capacity of individual urban tree species
Author(s) Dias Baptista, M
Livesley, S
Parmehr, E
Neave, M
Amati, M
Year 2018
Journal name Hydrological Processes
Volume number 32
Issue number 25
Start page 3729
End page 3740
Total pages 12
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Abstract A rapid rise of urban population is making cities denser. Consequently, the proportion of impervious surface cover has enlarged, increasing the amount and speed of run‐off reaching urban catchment areas, which may cause flash flooding. Trees play a key role to reduce run‐off in the city, as they intercept rainfall and store part of it on their leaves and branches, reducing the amount and speed of water running onto impervious surfaces. Storage capacity will depend on the rainfall event, the climate conditions and tree characteristics and canopy density. These canopy characteristics vary greatly among different species and their phenology. Furthermore, these canopy characteristics can vary greatly among individual trees of the same age, size, and species. This study tested how canopy density and leaf characteristics of three different tree species affect storage capacity under simulated rainfall conditions. Three species were selected (Ulmus procera, Platanus × acerifolia, and Corymbia maculata), each being of the same height and similar canopy dimensions. Storage capacity was measured using a mass balance approach during a 15‐min indoor, simulated rainfall event (2.5 mm/hr). Canopy metrics were estimated using a terrestrial laser scanner. Canopy surface area was measured through destructive harvest and leaf/twig/branch scanning. To investigate variations in the canopy leaf density, leaves were systematically removed to create four treatments: full, half, quarter, and woody. Canopy storage capacity was well correlated to plant surface area (m2), plant area index (m2/m2), and plant area density (m2/m3). All analyses indicated U. procera as the most efficient species for storing rainfall water within a canopy of equal volume or area index. Results reveal the complexity of evaluating interception of rainfall by tree canopies. This study contributes to the discipline and practice by distinguishing how variation in the leaf density is important to consider when selecting
Subject Land Use and Environmental Planning
Keyword(s) interception
plant area density
plant area index
plant surface area
rainfall simulation
run‐off reduction
DOI - identifier 10.1002/hyp.13255
Copyright notice © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN 1099-1085
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