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Journal Article: ID no. (ISBN etc.):  0022-1694 BibTeX citation key:  Boulain2009
Boulain, N., Cappelaere, B., Ramier, D., Issoufou, H. B. A., Halilou, O., Seghieri, J., Guillemin, F., Oï, M., Gignoux, J. & Timouk, F. (2009) Towards an understanding of coupled physical and biological processes in the cultivated Sahel - 2. Vegetation and carbon dynamics. IN Journal of Hydrology, 375. 190–203.
Added by: roussot 2010-04-15 14:20:27    Last Edited by: Fanny Lefebvre 2010-11-17 15:39:41
Categories: General, Land surface processes, Land surface-atmosphere feedback, Water cycle
Keywords: Carbon dioxide
Creators: Boulain, Cappelaere, Gignoux, Guillemin, Halilou, Issoufou, , Ramier, Seghieri, Timouk
Collection: Journal of Hydrology
Bibliographies: Prior150410

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This paper analyses the dynamics of vegetation and carbon during the West African monsoon season, for millet crop and fallow vegetation covers in the cultivated area of the Sahel. Comparing these two dominant land cover types informs on the impact of cultivation on productivity and carbon fluxes. Biomass, leaf area index (LAI) and carbon fluxes were monitored over a 2-year period for these two vegetation systems in the Wankama catchment of the AMMA (African monsoon multidisciplinary analyses) experimental super-site in West Niger. Carbon fluxes and water use efficiency observed at the field scale are confronted with ecophysiological measurements (photosynthetic response to light, and relation of water use efficiency to air humidity) made at the leaf scale for the dominant plant species in the two vegetation systems. The two rainy seasons monitored were dissimilar with respect to rain patterns, reflecting some of the interannual variability. Distinct responses in vegetation development and in carbon dynamics were observed between the two vegetation systems. Vegetation development in the fallow was found to depend more on rainfall distribution along the season than on its starting date. A quite opposite behaviour was observed for the crop vegetation: the date of first rain appears as a principal factor of millet growth. Carbon flux exchanges were well correlated to vegetation development. High responses of photosynthesis to light were observed for the dominant herbaceous and shrub species of the fallow at the leaf and field scales. Millet showed high response at the leaf scale, but a much lesser response at the field scale. This pattern, also observed for water use efficiency, is to be related to the low density of the millet cover. A simple LAI-based model for scaling up the photosynthetic response from leaf to field scale was found quite successful for the fallow, but was less conclusive for the crop, due to spatial variability of LAI. Time/space variations in leaf distribution for the dominant species are key to scale transition of carbon dynamics. Results obtained for the two vegetation covers are important in light of the major land use/cover change experienced in the Sahel region due to extensive savanna clearing for food production.
Added by: Fanny Lefebvre    Last Edited by: Fanny Lefebvre