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Relationship Between Foliar δ13C and Hydraulic Pathway Length in Pinus palustris

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Abstract:



Because of the importance of hydraulic architecture in understanding physiological differences between small and large trees, we tested the hypothesis that foliar δ13C increased with aboveground flow-path length in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) trees of varying age and size at two sites in the lower Coastal Plain. This species offered a unique opportunity to examine variability in foliar δ13C in relation to pathway length because of the open, well-mixed canopy in savanna-like stands and concentration of foliage in splayed tufts on branch ends. At both sites, models with total flow-path length (bole + branch) explained 78–81% of the variation in foliar δ13C, and a full model with separate slopes and intercepts for each tree was required. Branch flow-path length was highly correlated with foliar δ13C and the models accounted for 76–88% of the variation in foliar δ13C, and a reduced model with one slope was suitable for each site. Flow-path length was not as well correlated to foliar N concentration, specific leaf area or tuft leaf area. Greater δ13C enrichment with increasing flow-path length indicates the need for mechanistic studies to better understand the role of hydraulic resistance in controlling leaf-level physiology within the canopy and among different size longleaf pine trees. FOR. SCI. 49(5):790–798.

Keywords: Flow-path length; carbon isotopic signature; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; longleaf pine; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Professor School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 36849-5418, Phone: 334-844-1040; Fax: (334) 844-1084 samuelj@auburn.edu 2: Former Graduate Student School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 3: Associate Professor School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 36849-5418, Phone: 334-844-1059 somergl@auburn.edu

Publication date: October 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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