The relationship between reference canopy conductance and simplified hydraulic architecture
Terrestrial ecosystems are dominated by vascular plants that form a mosaic of hydraulic conduits to water movement from the soil to the atmosphere. Together with canopy leaf area, canopy stomatal conductance regulates plant water use and thereby photosynthesis and growth. Although stomatal conductance is coordinated with plant hydraulic conductance, governing relationships across species has not yet been formulated at a practical level that can be employed in large-scale models. Here, combinations of published conductance measurements obtained with several methodologies across boreal to tropical climates were used to explore relationships between canopy conductance rates and hydraulic constraints. A parsimonious hydraulic model requiring sapwood-to-leaf area ratio and canopy height generated acceptable agreement with measurements across a range of biomes (r2 = 0.75). The results suggest that, at long time scales, the functional convergence among ecosystems in the relationship between water-use and hydraulic architecture eclipses inter-specific variation in physiology and anatomy of the transport system. Prognostic applicability of this model requires independent knowledge of sapwood-to-leaf area. In this study, we did not find a strong relationship between sapwood-to-leaf area and physical or climatic variables that are readily determinable at coarse scales, though the results suggest that climate may have a mediating influence on the relationship between sapwood-to-leaf area and height. Within temperate forests, canopy height alone explained a large amount of the variance in reference canopy conductance (r2 = 0.68) and this relationship may be more immediately applicable in the terrestrial ecosystem models. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Novick, K; Oren, R; Stoy, P; Juang, JY; Siqueira, M; Katul, G
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