Diurnal dynamics of water transport, storage and hydraulic conductivity in pine trees under seasonal drought

T Klein, S Cohen, I Paudel, Y Preisler, E Rotenberg, D Yakir
2016 iForest : Biogeosciences and Forestry  
The temporal dynamics of water transport and storage in plants have major implications for plant functioning and survival. In trees, stress on the conductive tissue can be moderated by water storage. Yet, trees can survive high percent loss of conductivity (PLC, up to 80%), suggesting efficient recovery. We assess the role of tree water storage and PLC recovery based on simultaneous measurements of leaf transpiration, branch hydraulic conductivity, and stem sap-flow from different seasons in
more » ... ee study years in mature Pinus halepensis (Miller) trees in a semi-arid forest. During the wet season the rates of transpiration (T) and sap flow (SF) peaked at high morning and through the midday. During the dry season T peaked at ~9:00 and then decreased, whereas SF lagged T and fully compensated for it only in the evening, resulting in a midday water deficit of ~5 kg tree -1 , and with up to 33% of daily T derived from storage. PLC of 30-40% developed during mid-day and subsequently recovered to near zero within 2-3 hr in the dry season (May, June, and September), but not in the wet season (January). The observed temporal decoupling between leaf water loss and soil water recharge is consistent with optimization of the trees' water and gas exchange economy, while apparently facilitating their survival in the semi-arid conditions.
doi:10.3832/ifor2046-009 fatcat:gohhr5qb7jc2lcterxuuqvktfm