August 05, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Bark Water Vapor Conductance is Associated with Drought Performance in Tropical Trees

Bark leakiness to water vapor may influence the rate at which trees stem dehydration during droughts

The Science

The amount of water that tropical trees lose from their stems during drought conditions, when trees lack access to soil water, is correlated with their bark water vapor conductance, which is the leakiness of bark to water vapor. This suggests that water loss through bark may be an important and overlooked mechanism that influences stem dehydration and drought performance in tropical trees.

The Impact

The amount of water that tropical trees lose from their stems during drought conditions, when trees lack access to soil water, was correlated with their bark water vapor conductance, which is the leakiness of bark to water vapor. This suggests that water loss through bark may be an important and overlooked mechanism that influences stem dehydration and drought performance.

Summary

Saplings of several tree species in Panama were measured for stem water content during well-watered conditions and drought conditions in forest understories and in a shadehouse experiment to assess stem water deficit during drought. Saplings of the same species were collected and measured for bark water vapor conductance. In both datasets, bark water vapor conductance was correlated with stem water deficit among species that lacked assess to soil water.

Principal Investigator

Brett Wolfe
Louisiana State University
[email protected]

Program Manager

Daniel Stover
U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Environmental System Science
[email protected]

Funding

This project was supported by the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics and by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science.

References

Wolfe, B.T. "Bark Water Vapour Conductance is Associated with Drought Performance in Tropical Trees." Biology Letters 16 (8), 20200263  (2020). https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0263.