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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Time series diagnosis of tree hydraulic characteristics

Phillips NG, Oren R, Licata J, Linder S


An in vivo method for diagnosing hydraulic characteristics of branches and whole trees is described. The method imposes short-lived perturbations of transpiration and traces the propagation of the hydraulic response through trees. The water uptake response contains the integrated signature of hydraulic resistance and capacitance within trees, The method produces large signal to noise ratios for analysis, but does not cause damage or destruction to tree stems or branches. Based on results with two conifer tree species, we show that the method allows for the simple parameterization of bulk hydraulic resistance and capacitance of trees. Bulk tree parameterization of resistance and capacitance predicted the overall diel shape of water uptake, but did not predict the overshoot water uptake response in trees to shorter-term variations in transpiration, created by step changes in transpiration rate. Stomatal dynamics likely complicated the use of simple resistance-capacitance models of tree water transport on these short time scales. The results provide insight into dominant hydraulic and physiological factors controlling tree water flux on varying time scales, and allow for the practical assessment of necessary tree hydraulic model complexity in relation to the time step of soil-vegetation-atmosphere transport models

Published in

Tree Physiology
2004, Volume: 24, number: 8, pages: 879-890

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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