Sources of tree water uptake along a groundwater gradient in Elsey National Park

Project: Research

Project Details

Description

CSIRO have been tasked by the Australian Government to evaluate the soil and water resources in the Roper River catchment (Northern Territory) and assess opportunities for agricultural development. This includes characterising and mapping the groundwater dependency of vegetation around Elsey National Park, an area of significant groundwater discharge to the Roper River. Remote sensing studies suggest that the entire area is dependent on groundwater, with evapotranspiration rates in excess of rainfall. However, a finer understanding of the sources of tree water uptake is lacking. The potential occurrence of a groundwater depth threshold beyond which trees are not reliant on groundwater is of particular interest.
This study proposes an investigation into the sources of tree water uptake along a groundwater depth gradient in and around the Elsey National Park area. This approach will involve the use of stable isotopes of water (oxygen-18, δ18O and deuterium, δ2H) as tracers of tree water sourcing. This study will determine the isotopic composition of potential tree water sources (soil water at different depths, groundwater) and evaluate their contribution to xylem water, which will be considered a mixture of different sources.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date12/10/2130/09/22