Evapotranspiration variability and landscape characteristics in rainforest transformation systems, Sumatra

The lowlands of Sumatra are increasingly being converted into rubber and oil palm plantations leading to a loss of terrestrial ecosystems and causing extensive ecological degradation and loss of biodiversity.
Changes in land-use and land cover bring about many changes in the ecosystem composition, structure and functioning, including its ecohydrological functioning. Forests and trees are key components in such landscapes and are prime regulators of the water cycle. Evapotranspiration is the main flux in the plant-atmosphere water cycle and is an important factor in climate regulation. Changes in land-use and land cover affect evapotranspiration magnitude in temporal and spatial dimensions thereby affecting the ecohydrological functioning of the ecosystem. In Phase 3, the main focus is a landscape-level assessment of the variability of evapotranspiration in palm and trees across various land-uses (forest, oil palm plantations, rubber plantations, and shrubland and upland sites) and to identify its spatial controls using drone-based thermography and photogrammetry and leaf area index assessments from the ground. In addition, the experimental sites B11 Oil Palm Biodiversity Enrichment Experiment (EFForTS-BEE) and the Oil Palm Management Experiment (OPMX) will also be assessed. The aim is to test hypotheses regarding the importance of vegetation structure, soil characteristics, management intensity and landscape position. Finally, data from these three field campaigns will be used for an overarching analysis of trade-offs between land use and ecosystem services.