Water consumption of Populus alba trees in tree shelterbelt systems in Central Asia – a case study in the Chui Valley, South Eastern Kazakhstan

Eva Strenge1, Niels Thevs2*, Kumar Aliev2, Maksat Eraaliev3, Petra Lang3, Azim Baibagysov4

1Technical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

2World Agroforestry Center, Central Asia Office, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

3University of Trier, Trier, Germany

4Kazakh National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan

*Corresponding Author: N.Thevs@cgiar.org


Research Article


Agriculture in Central Asia largely relies on irrigation. The water is withdrawn from the rivers of the region, which predominantly originate from snowfields and glaciers. Due to global warming, these water resources are expected to decline substantially, resulting in an aggravation of already existing water scarcity. Tree shelterbelt systems, as the most prominent practice of agroforestry in Central Asia, are reported to help to reduce water consumption in irrigated agriculture. Populus. alba is one of the most important shelterbelt trees in Central Asia. Though, studies about water consumption of shelterbelts are lacking. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to (1) investigate water consumption of Populus alba trees in a shelterbelt system in Central Asia and (2) analyze the influence of local climatic conditions on the sap flow of such a shelterbelt. Tree water consumption was assessed through sap flow measurements on three trees in a crop shelterbelt system in the Chui Valley in South Eastern Kazakhstan during June and July 2016. The average daily water consumption was 187.6 l/d, 44.8 l/d, and 160 l/d for the trees, respectively. These results were extrapolated for a representative shelterbelt section. Water consumption of that section was 7.8 mm/d, while average ETo was 5.3 mm/d. Considerable influences of water vapor saturation deficit, air temperature and relative humidity on the sap flow could be observed. Solar radiation played a role, too, whereas little or no influence of wind speed on tree water consumption was found.

Download the article

For citation: Strenge, E., Thevs, N., Kumar Aliev, K., Eraaliev, M., Lang, P., & Baibagysov, A. (2018). Water consumption of Populus alba trees in tree shelterbelt systems in Central Asia – a case study in the Chui Valley, South Eastern Kazakhstan. Central Asian Journal of Water Research, 4(1), 48–62. https://doi.org/10.29258/cajwr/2018-ri.v4-1/48-62.eng


  1. ADB, 2010, Central Asia Atlas. Manila, Philippines, ADB. Available from: www.adb.org/projects/CACILM.
  2. Akimaliev, D. A., Zaurov, D .E., and Eisenman, S. W.,  2013, “The Geography, Climate and vegetation of Kyrgyzstan” in: Akimaliev, D. A. (Ed.), Medical Plants of Central Asia: Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Springer, Heidelberg, pp. 10-32.
  3. Allen, R. G., Pereira, L. S., Raes, D., and Smith, M., 1998, Crop evapotranspiration – Guidelines for computing crop water requirements. FAO Irrigation and drainage paper 56. FAO, Rome.
  4. Bulychev, A. S. & Onischenko, L. P., 1979, Field protection wind-breaks in Chuy valley and their efficiency. Frunze.
  5. Changkun, M., Lin, S., Shiyin, L., Ming´an, S., and Yi, L., 2015, “Impact of climate change on the streamflow in the glacierized Chu River Basin, Central Asia”, Journal of Arid Land, Vol. 7, pp. 501-513.
  6. Djanibekov, U., Villamor, G.B., Dzhakypbekova, K., Chamberlain, J., and Xu, J., 2016, “Adoption of Sustainable Land Uses in Post-Soviet Central Asia: The Case for Agroforestry” Sustainability, Vol. 8, pp. 1030, Available from: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.3390/su8101030.
  7. Drake, B. G., Raschke, K., and Salisbury, F. B., 1970, “Temperatures and Transpiration Resistances of Xanthium Leaves as Affected by Air Temperature, Humidity, and Wind Speed”, Plant Physiology Vol.46, pp. 324-330.
  8. Gibert, D., Le Mouel, J., Lambs, L., Nicollin, F., and Perrier, F., 2006, “Sap flow and daily electric potential variations in a tree trunk”, Plant Science, Vol. 171, pp. 572-584.
  9. Grace, J., 1988, “Plant response to wind”, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 22/23, pp. 71-88.
  10. Granier, A., 1987, “Evaluation of transpiration of in a Douglas Fir stand by means of sap flow measurements”, Tree Physiology, Vol. 3, pp. 309-320.
  11. Hana, K. O., Mahjoub, R.H., and Hussein, S.G., 1997, Effects of Shelterbelt on Soil Temperature, Soil Moisture and Vegetable Yield in a Semi-desert Environment along the River Nile State, Sudan. Desertification and Desert Cultivation Studies Institute, University of Khartoum, Shambat, Sudan.
  12. Jarvis, P. G., 1985, “Transpiration and Assimilation of Tree and Agricultural Crops: The ‘Omega  Factor’”, In Cannell M.G.R. & Jackson J.E. (Ed.), Attributes of Trees as Crop Plants. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Huntingdon, pp. 460-480.
  13. Karthe, D., 2017, “Environmental Changes in Central and East Asian Drylands and their Effects on Large Central and East Asian Lakes and their Effects on Major River-Lake Systems”, Quaternary International, Available from: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.quaint.2017.01.041.
  14. Kunze T., Gronau L., and Halasz, M., 2010, Wasserknappheit und Klimawandel in Zentralasien. Länderbericht. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.
  15. Lubczynski, M. W., Chavarro-Rincon, D., Roy, J., 2012, “Novel, cyclic heat dissipation method for the correction of natural temperature gradients in sap flow measurements. Part 1. Theory and application”, Tree Physiology, Vol. 32, pp. 894-912.
  16. Lundblad, M. & Lindroth, A., 2002, “Stand transpiration and sapflow density in relation to weather, soil moisture and stand characteristics”, Basic and Applied Ecology, Vol., 3, pp. 229-243.
  17. Ma, J., Chen, Y., Li, W., Huang, X., Zhu, C., and Ma, X., 2011, “Sap flow characteristics of four typical species in desert shelter forest and their responses to environmental factors”, Environmental Earth Science, Vol. 67, pp. 151-160.
  18. Meiresonne, L., Nadezhdin, N., Cermak, J., Van Slycken, J., and Ceulemans, R., 1999, “Measured sap flow and simulated transpiration from a poplar stand in Flanders (Belgium)”,  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol.96, pp. 165-179.
  19. Miller, D. R., Rosenberg, N.J., and Bagley, W. T., 1975, “Wind reduction by a highly permeable tree shelterbelt”, Agriculture Meteorology, Vol. 14, pp. 321-333.
  20. Popov, L. E., Bassett, M. G., Zhemchuzhnikov, V. G., Holmer, L. E., and Klishevich, I. A., 2009, “Gondwanan faunal signatures from Early Palaeozoic terranes of Kazakhstan and Central Asia evidence and tectonic implications”, Geological Society London Special Publications, Vol. 325, pp. 23-64.
  21. Schuler, M., 2007, “Migration Patterns of the Population in Kyrgyzstan”, Espace, Populations, Societies, Vol.1, pp. 73-89.
  22. Stepanov, A.M., 1987, Agroforestry Melioration in Irrigated Lands. Agropromizdat, Moscow. 1987.
  23. Thevs, N., Strenge, E., Aliev, K., Eraaliev, M., Lang, P., Baibagysov, A., and Xu, J., 2017, “Tree shelterbelts as an element to improve water resource management in Central Asia” Water, Vol. 9, pp. 842-852, Available from: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.3390/w9110842.
  24. Undeland, A., 2015, Kyrgyz Republic. Communities Forests and Pastures. Report No: ACS 13613. World Bank.
  25. UNECE, 2018, Forest Landscape Restoration in the Caucasus and Central Asia – Challenges and Opportunities. Background paper for the Ministerial Roundtable on Forest Landscape Restoration in the Caucasus and Central Asia (21-22 June 2018, Astana, Kazakhstan). Available from: https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/timber/Forest_Policy/Capacity_building/FLR_CCA_challenges___opportunities_081018-ENG-edited.pdf.
  26. Unger-Shayesteh, K., Vorogushyn, S., Farinotti, D., Gafurov, A., Duethmann, D., Mandychev, A., Merz, B., 2013, “What do we know about past changes in the water cycle of Central Asian headwaters? A review”, Global Planetary Change, Vol. 110, pp. 4–25.
  27. Vasilyev, M.E., 1980, Melioration through Forests and Harvest. Kainar. Almaty.
  28. Xu, X., Tong, L., Li, F., Kang, S., and Qu, Y., 2010, “Sap flow of irrigated Populus alba var. pyramidalis and its relationship with environmental factors and leaf area index in an arid region of Northwest China”, Journal for Forest Research, Vol. 16, pp. 144-152.
  29. Zhang, Y., Kang, S., Ward, E.J., Ding, R., Zhang, X., and Zheng, R., 2011, “Evapotranspiration components determined by sap flow and microlysimetry techniques of a vineyard in northwest China: Dynamics and influential factors”, Agricultural Water Management, Vol. 98, pp. 1207-1214.
  30. Zhou, Q., Wang, Y., and Sun, S., 2014, “Characteristic of sap flow of Poplar and response to meteorological factors in Coastal region”, Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 1010-1012, pp. 1055-1058.

agroforestry, Central Asia, crop water consumption, populus alba, sap flow, tree shelterbelt

Publication Alerts: