Journal Article

Hydraulic conductance, light interception and needle nutrient concentration in Scots pine stands and their relations with net primary productivity

Maurizio Mencuccini and John Grace

in Tree Physiology

Volume 16, issue 5, pages 459-468
Published in print May 1996 | ISSN: 0829-318X
e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/16.5.459
Hydraulic conductance, light interception and needle nutrient concentration in Scots pine stands and their relations with net primary productivity

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Aboveground xylem hydraulic conductance was determined in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees and stands from 7 to about 60 years of age. At the stand scale, leaf area index and net primary productivity (NPP, above- plus belowground) increased and reached a plateau at about 25–30 and 15–20 years, respectively; both parameters declined in mature stands. Stand hydraulic conductance followed a similar trend to NPP, with a maximum at about 15–20 years and a pronounced reduction in old stands. At the tree scale, annual biomass growth per unit of leaf area (growth efficiency) declined with tree age, whereas aboveground sapwood volume per unit leaf area, which is linearly related to maintenance respiration costs, steadily increased. Radiation interception per unit leaf area increased significantly with reduced leaf area index of mature stands, despite increased foliage clumping in the canopies of mature trees. Needle nutrient concentration did not change in the chronosequence. Tree hydraulic conductance per unit leaf area was strongly and positively correlated with growth efficiency. We discuss our findings in the context of growth reductions in mature and old trees, and suggest that increased hydraulic resistance and maintenance respiration costs may be the main causes of reduced carbon gain in mature and old trees.

Keywords: hydraulic architecture; Pinus sylvestris; respiration costs; transpiration

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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