Water requirement and use by Jatropha curcas in a semi-arid tropical location uri icon

abstract

  • Jatropha curcas has attracted the attention of researchers, policy makers and industries as agood candidate for biodiesel to meet the growing energy demand. It is a non-edible oil crop, droughttolerant and could be grown on degraded lands in the tropics without competing for lands currentlyused for food production. Jatropha curcas is a wild plant that is not much researched and little isknown about its water requirement and production potential of promising clones in differentagroclimatic conditions. Water use assessment of Jatropha curcas plantations in the semi-arid tropicallocation at ICRISAT, Patancheru indicated that crop evapotranspiration of Jatropha curcas under nomoisture stress varied from 1410-1538 mm per year during 2006-2009. Under field conditions thecrop evapotranspiration varied from 614-930 mm depending on atmospheric demand, rainfall andphonological stage. Patterns of soil water depletion indicated that with growing plant age from two tofive years, depth of soil water extraction increased from 100 cm to 150 cm by fifth year. Monthly wateruse varied from 10-20 mm to 140 mm depending on water availability and environmental demand.This study indicated that Jatropha curcas has a good drought tolerance mechanism, however underfavourable soil moisture conditions, Jatropha could use large amounts of water for luxurious growthand high yield. These findings highlight the need to carefully assess the implications of large Jatrophacurcas plantations on water availability and use under different agroecosystems, particularly so inwater scarce regions such as semi-arid and arid regions in the tropics

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012