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Transpiration of arabica coffee and associated shade tree species in sub-optimal, low-altitude conditions of Costa Rica

Van Kanten R., Vaast P.. 2006. AgroForestry Systems, 67 (2) : p. 187-202.

Sap flows of coffee (Coffea arabica L. cv 'Costa Rica 95') and associated timber trees (Eucalyptus deglupta or Terminalia ivorensis) or leguminous tree (Erythrina poeppigiana) were measured simultaneously during 12 months in 4-year-old coffee agroforestry systems in sub-optimal ecological conditions of Costa Rica. In the wet period, coffee and shade tree transpiration followed the daily patterns of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and reference evapotranspiration (ETo) while their transpiration was restricted at higher air VPD values (> 1.5 kPa) registered during the dry period. Coffee transpired more per unit leaf area in full sun than under shade, an indication of higher environmental coffee stress in non shaded conditions. Nonetheless, coffee daily water consumption per hectare was generally higher under shade than in full sun due higher vegetative growth of shade-grown coffee plants. Minimum and maximum daily transpiration were 0.74 and 4.08 mm for coffee, 0.35 and 1.06 mm for E. deglupta, 0.70 and 2.10 mm for T. ivorensis and 0.13 and 0.79 mm for E. poeppigiana. Estimation of the annual combined water transpiration by coffee and shade trees was 20-250% higher than that of coffee grown in full sun. Nevertheless, there was no evidence that water use by associated trees decreased soil water availability for coffee and hence limited coffee transpiration in the dry season due to its relatively short length (3 months) and the high annual rainfall (over 3100 mm). In the sub-optimal, low altitude conditions of this experiment, E. deglupta was the optimum shade species as it maintained a more constant shade level throughout the year and ensured a better protection to coffee underneath than T. ivorensis and E. poeppigiana which underwent a complete defoliation during the adverse meteorological conditions of the dry period. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : Évapotranspiration; transpiration; coffea arabica; plante d'ombrage; costa rica

Thématique : Physiologie et biochimie végétales; Systèmes et modes de culture

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