Research article

Effects of soil water decline on diurnal and seasonal variations in sap flux density for differently aged Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) trees

Kenji Tsuruta , Tomonori Kume, Hikaru Komatsu, Kyoichi Otsuki

Kenji Tsuruta
Soil Resources Laboratory, Department of Forest Soils, Forestry and Forest Products Institute, Matsunosato 1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan. Email: ktsuruta@ffpri.affrc.go.jp
Tomonori Kume
School of Forestry and Resource Conservation, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
Hikaru Komatsu
Graduate School of Education, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606- 8501, Japan
Kyoichi Otsuki
Kasuya Research Forest, Kyushu University, Sasaguri, Fukuoka 811-2415, Japan

Online First: January 08, 2018
Tsuruta, K., Kume, T., Komatsu, H., Otsuki, K. 2018. Effects of soil water decline on diurnal and seasonal variations in sap flux density for differently aged Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) trees. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2017.938


The effects of soil drought on transpiration are often neglected when predicting transpiration for forests in humid regions under the influence of the Asian monsoon. These effects have indeed been neglected for Japanese cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa, a major plantation species in Japan and the surrounding area, probably because previous studies have reported no clear effects of soil drought on transpiration for Japanese cypress forests. However, a few studies have reported an apparent reduction in transpiration with soil drought for young Japanese cypress forests. It remains unclear whether such a reduction in transpiration is limited to young Japanese cypress forests or if it is not uncommon for mature Japanese cypress forests, which occupy a large area in Japan. To clarify this point, we conducted sap flux measurements in a year with soil drought on three differently aged Japanese cypress stands including mature (43 years old) and relatively young (23 and 26 years old) trees. In a diurnal time scale, a cross correlation analysis of sap flux density (Fd) and vapor pressure deficit (VPD) showed that the time lags between Fd and VPD were 1-3 h in dry soil conditions. These were larger than those of wet soil conditions (<1 h) for all sample trees. Fd at a given VPD in dry soil conditions was smaller than that in wet soil conditions for all sample trees; a 28%–63% reduction in the rate of change in Fd was observed under dry soil conditions. Because our results were obtained when the non-exceedance probability of recorded monthly precipitation was 9%–18%, the results suggest the need to consider the effects of soil drought more extensively. Those effects should be considered for not only relatively young but also mature Japanese cypress when predicting diurnal and seasonal patterns of transpiration in years with soil drought, and when predicting inter-annual patterns of transpiration for Japanese cypress despite humid temperate climate. 


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  • Kenji Tsuruta
  • Tomonori Kume
  • Hikaru Komatsu
  • Kyoichi Otsuki
  • Kenji Tsuruta
  • Tomonori Kume
  • Hikaru Komatsu
  • Kyoichi Otsuki