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  • Salmon, Yann; Torres-Ruiz, Jose M.; Poyatos, Rafael; Martinez-Vilalta, Jordi; Meir, Patrick; Cochard, Herve; Mencuccini, Maurizio (2015)
    Understanding physiological processes involved in drought-induced mortality is important for predicting the future of forests and for modelling the carbon and water cycles. Recent research has highlighted the variable risks of carbon starvation and hydraulic failure in drought-exposed trees. However, little is known about the specific responses of leaves and supporting twigs, despite their critical role in balancing carbon acquisition and water loss. Comparing healthy (non-defoliated) and unhealthy (defoliated) Scots pine at the same site, we measured the physiological variables involved in regulating carbon and water resources. Defoliated trees showed different responses to summer drought compared with non-defoliated trees. Defoliated trees maintained gas exchange while non-defoliated trees reduced photosynthesis and transpiration during the drought period. At the branch scale, very few differences were observed in non-structural carbohydrate concentrations between health classes. However, defoliated trees tended to have lower water potentials and smaller hydraulic safety margins. While non-defoliated trees showed a typical response to drought for an isohydric species, the physiology appears to be driven in defoliated trees by the need to maintain carbon resources in twigs. These responses put defoliated trees at higher risk of branch hydraulic failure and help explain the interaction between carbon starvation and hydraulic failure in dying trees.
  • Han, Qingquan; Luo, Jianxun; Li, Zhijun; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2018)
    In this study, intergeneric grafting was employed between Populus cathayana and Salix rehderiana to investigate the grafting compatibility of the two Salicaceae plants and to reveal whether grafting can improve their drought resistance. Under different grafting combinations (P. cathayana scion with P. cathayana rootstock, P/P; P. cathayana scion with S. rehderiana rootstock, P/S; S. rehderiana scion with S. rehderiana rootstock, S/S; and S. rehderiana scion with P. cathayana rootstock, S/P), the survival and growth rate, biomass accumulation and allocation, photosynthetic traits, carbon isotope composition (delta C-13), relative water content (RWC) and nonstructural carbohydrates (NSCs) were measured. The results showed that the grafting compatibility between P. cathayana and S. rehderiana was very high, as the survival rates ranged from 76% to 100% under different grafting combinations. Drought significantly decreased growth, biomass accumulation, photosynthetic pigment contents, net photosynthesis rates (P) and RWC, and increased delta C-13 in all grafting combinations. Under drought stress, biomass accumulation, total chlorophyll, transpiration rate (E) and P-n were higher in P/P and P/S than in S/S and S/P. Compared with P/P, the growth rate, biomass accumulation, root/aboveground ratio (R/A ratio), carotenoid, RWC, starch and total soluble sugar (TSS) of P/S were less affected by drought. The height growth rate (GRH), R/A ratio, carotenoid, chlorophyll a, total chlorophyll, WUEi and TSS of S/P were lower than those of S/S under water-limited conditions. Moreover, a principal component analysis indicated that P/S and S/S had higher drought resistance than P/P and S/P under water deficits. The used method allows combining specific advantageous traits from P. cathayana and S. rehderiana, which may be a highly useful tool to enhance drought resistance in the cultivation of Salicaceae plants.
  • Yu, Lei; Song, Mengya; Xia, Zhichao; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2019)
    Although extensive research has been conducted on the temporal dynamics of plant-plant interactions, little is known about the effect of phosphorus (P) availability. In this study, Abies fabri and Picea brachytyla seedlings were collected from the late-stage Hailuogou glacier retreat area and grown under different P regimes (control and P fertilization) from year 2015 to 2016 in a common garden experiment to investigate whether plant-plant interactions are modulated by P availability. We found that P fertilization affected the relative competition intensity (RCI). Under control conditions in 2015, the growth of A. fabri was facilitated by the presence of P. brachytyla. Under P fertilization, the facilitative effect was more intensive: the leaf, stem and total biomass of A. fabri significantly increased under interspecific interaction compared with intraspecific interaction, but no effect was found in P. brachytyla. RCI showed similar tendencies both in 2015 and 2016. In addition, plant-plant interactions and P fertilization caused temporal variation in C, N, P and non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) contents. The growth of A. fabri greatly benefited from the presence of P. brachytyla when exposed to P fertilization and showed higher biomass, and C, N, P and NSC accumulations. Our results demonstrated interactive effects between environmental conditions (i.e. P availability) and plant-plant interactions that are closely related to resource accumulation.