Canopy branch performance across latitude gradient

Canopy branches are key energy input pathways of forest trees. The success of canopy branches is important for canopy woody plants to compete and survive. Understanding their performance on water and sugar flow from eco-physiological functions and wood anatomy will be helpful to understand their success.

The project is conducted across China from tropical forest - subtropical forest - temperate forest to boreal forest. All sites have a crane to reach the forest canopy except boreal forest. Selected plant traits that reflecting hydraulic conductivity, hydraulic safety and mechanical safety are collected including xylem specific conductivity, cavitation resistance, modulus of rupture and dry wood density. Wood anatomy traits which associating with water and sugar flow are checked including vessel diameter, tissue composition (vessel, fibre/traicheids, ray and axial parenchyma), xylem area and phloem area.

In tropical and subtropical forest, lianas and trees are two target lifeforms while in temperate and boreal forest, broadleaves and conifers are two target lifeforms. All the traits will be compared between different lifeforms within one climate to understand if species differ in their performance under the same environmental condition. Then a comparison across latitute gradient will be conducted to investigate how traits change along changing environmental condition.