The University of Arizona

Evaporation from rangeland with and without honey mesquite.

W.A. Dugas, H.S. Mayeux


The Bowen ratio/energy balance technique was used to estimate evaporation (E) from honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr. var. glandulosa) as the difference in total E (plant and soil) between that of adjacent mesquite-dominated and mesquite-free rangeland areas near Throckmorton, Tex. After treatment with diesel in July 1988 to defoliate the honey mesquite, E from the treated area decreased to a minimum value of about 40% of that from the untreated area. In 1989, seasonal E totals from the untreated and treated areas were, respectively, 190 and 176 mm-a 7% reduction in E due to mesquite defoliation. Total E for the herbaceous and honey mesquite vegetation in 1989 in the untreated area was 117 and 73 mm, respectively. Honey mesquite foliar cover was 15% in the untreated area, but it accounted for 38% of the total E. These honey mesquite E data were supported by independent measurements of sap flow. While honey mesquite used substantial amounts of water, E from the rangeland from which it was removed was just slightly lower due to increased herbaceous evaporation associated with increases in standing crop. Under the circumstances of low grazing intensity and low runoff potential, honey mesquite removal would provide little if any additional water for off-site uses in the short-term and, therefore, the removal of this species for purely hydrological purposes would not be justified. Increases in off-site water availability may, however, result from honey mesquite control under grazing regimes which preclude accumulation of additional herbaceous standing crop or at site with greater runoff potential.


bowen ratio/energy balance;evaporation;evapotranspiration;sap flow;ground cover;Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa;energy balance;transpiration;Texas;rangelands

Full Text: