Using sap flow to infer plant hydraulic properties

A foundational element of plant metabolism is the transport of water from the ground to the leaves. In most plants, this task is facilitated by xylem, a tissue whose structure provides hydraulic pathways that aid the water’s upward movement. As plants face stressors such as drought, they respond by modifying their transport characteristics. Thus, an accurate understanding of their hydraulic properties is critical to modeling the effects of climate change on plant populations as well as to providing insight into how plant populations’ water use will affect the global water, energy, and carbon cycles.

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