Potential hydraulic conductivity of Pinus sylvestris from 15 sites across Europe

Recently, several vital populations of Scotch pine are decreasing in dry areas such as the Mediterranean region and Central Europe. Increasing summer drought has been identified as a contributing factor to this vital decrease.


Wood anatomical research has been conducted in the context of a large project “Plasticity in the vulnerability to xylem embolism of Scots pine across Europe (22/02/07)” by J Martínez-Vilalta, H Cochard & M Mencuccini” (for background information see "New insights into the hydraulics of trees", Powerpoint presentation by Cohard, 2007). The aim was to check whether direct ecophysiological measurements of conductivity on branches of Scot spine conducted with the centrifuge technique (Km) differ from calculated potential conductivity (Kp) as derived from wood anatomical measurements. The results indicate a strong relation between both values on site level (4 trees per site measured) meaning that the conductivity is strongly determined (and hence predictable) by conduit size and -density. However, it became also obvious that Kp equals 5.6 times Km indicating that  the potential conductivity is not directly related to conduit size and –density but must be systematically reduced by end wall resistances and xylem cavitation vulnerability.



MSc theses

  • Gerrits, P. (2008). Plasticity in the hydraulic system of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). (supervision: Sterck, Sass-Klaassen)