Critical Zone Tree 1

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Inside the P301 subcatchment, the SSCZO established the first Critical Zone Tree. This CZ tree is a White Fir (Abies concolor) that has been intensely instrumented with soil moisture, temperature, and matric potential sensors, snow depth, solar radiation, and sap flow sensors, resin nutrient collectors, tension lysimeters and time lapse photography. The Southern Sierra CZO currently has three instrumented trees.

0.0001 km2   Area

Parent Field Area:
Providence Creek Subcatchment P301 ▲

Sensors radiate out around Critical Zone Tree-1, measuring soil temperature, soil moisture, sap flow, meteological variables, and snow pack, among other factors of interest. 

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Setting & Research
Overview Maps
Data
Photos
  • Setting & Research

    Impetus for research

    Researchers were ineterested in addressing the following questions:

    • How do trees utilize water? What is the timing of their water use?  How does soil depth relate to these two questions?
    • How do surface and subsurface water budgets behave in these remote settings? How does moisture and temperature variablity in the near surface soils impact the water budgets?

    In designing this setup, the researchers aimed to monitor of surface and subsurface water budgets in remote landscapes, with specific attention to moisture and temperature variability in near surface soils. Another goal was to study the interactions between soil hydrology and tree root water uptake in a forested catchment, as part of a wider effort to analyze changing ecosystem response to changing environmental inputs. The Critical Zone tree research has provided and intensive, detailed view of water use by trees in these mid-elevation areas. Combined with other projects, including data from flux towers and subsurface exploration, we have found that trees at these elevations access water from much deeper sources than previously thought, and are active through much of the winter.

    A camera installed at this site is focused on the Critical Zone tree to record daily changes in snow cover. Play these time lapse videos to watch the snowmelt patterns changing during different winters.

    Winter 2008-2009 time lapse video

     

    Winter 2009-2010 time lapse video
    Winter 2010-2011 time lapse video

     

  • Overview Maps

    Map instrumentation

    Map showing present instrumentation configuration at the Providence Site. CZT-1 is closest to the Flux Tower.

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    CZT-1 site layout

    Instrumentation pits are arrayed in spokes around CZT-1. Many pits have sensors at several depths, including soil moisture and soil temperature.

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  • Data

    Critical Zone Tree 1 - Matric Potential (2008-2013)
    6 components    Critical Zone Tree 1    Hydrology    Peter Hartsough, Jan Hopmans

    Critical Zone Tree 1 - Sap Flow (2008-2012)
    4 components    Critical Zone Tree 1    Hydrology, Biology / Ecology    Peter Hartsough, Jan Hopmans

    Critical Zone Tree 1 - Soil Moisture, Soil Temperature, Electrical Conductivity (2008-2014)
    6 components    Critical Zone Tree 1    Hydrology    Peter Hartsough, Jan Hopmans

  • Photos

    SSCZO - Critical Zone Trees

    The primary Critical Zone Tree in the Southern Sierra CZO is a White Fir (Abies concolor) that has been intensely instrumented with soil moisture, temperature, and matric potential sensors, snow depth, solar radiation, and sap flow sensors, resin nutrient collectors, tension lysimeters and time lapse photography.  The Southern Sierra CZO currently has three instrumented trees.

    A photo gallery of the Critical Zone Trees can be found here.