Eddy covariance measurements started at sisal plantation in Kenya

Gas exchange measurements with the eddy covariance method were started at world's largest sisal plantation in Kenya to measure CAM photosynthesis.

Sisal is a species of agave and is mainly cultivated for its fibre. It is adapted to arid environments by keeping its stomata closed during day to avoid evapotranspiration. During night the stomata open letting carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases in the leaves. CO2 is converted into malic acid and stored in vacuoles until daytime, when it is then transported to chloroplasts, converted back to CO2 and used for photosynthesis. This cycle is called crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as CAM photosynthesis.

Teita sisal estate is the largest sisal plantation in the world covering 130 km2 of land area and making it an ideal site for eddy covariance measurements. The micrometeorology group started a measurement campaign at Teita sisal estate in November 2019 and the measurements will continue until end of January 2020. The setup includes gas flux measurements of CO2, carbonyl sulfide (COS), carbon monoxide (CO) and water vapor (H2O), as well as meteorological and environmental measurements of air and soil temperatures, relative humidity, soil moisture, rainfall and solar radiation. The campaign will cover both rainy and dry seasons.

Special thanks to Taita Research Station of University of Helsinki staff for helping with the installations and organizing the campaing!