We measure the crop evapotranspiration and water use efficiency in apple orchard with the eddy covariance methodology and relate it to tree physiology and environmental parameters. The aim is to provide an overall picture of the water cycle in agricultural systems to guide water supply
Management of water resource for mountain viticulture
The impact of climate change on mountain viticulture is expected to be extremely significant in the near future. Higher temperature, a general reduction of the precipitation and an increase in the number of consecutive dry days is already expanding the role played by irrigation for the achievement of the productive goals. We are interested in gaining scientific-based knowledge on the effects of different irrigation regimes, characterized by different levels of water shortage, on the main physiological, productive and quality traits of grapevine cultivated in mountain conditions. To do so, we set up manipulation experiments at different levels of water stress intensity and we perform a continuous monitoring of the soil-plant water status. We are particularly interested in testing the efficacy of new plant-based indexes of water stress (sap flow density and chlorophyll fluorescence) as reliable and early indicators of vine water status to guide irrigation management in the vineyards.
Water stress in grasslands
We are interested in understanding the hydrological mechanisms of alpine grassland ecosystems. Almost 90% of agricultural land in South Tyrol is composed of extensively and intensively used meadows und pastures. The management of these grasslands and the impact of climate change on them have strong influence on water supply in the lower regions, soil stability and hydro power. We use stable isotope analysis of carbon (12C and 13C) to quantify water use efficiency of different grassland species and lifeforms under varying climatic conditions. Concurrently we investigate the sources of water for grasslands in relation to location, altitude and vegetation type. We analyse the Hydrogen (1H and 2H) and Oxygen (16O and 18O) isotopic signature to trace the supply of water from the different possible sources (groundwater, rain, snow and irrigation water) into plants.