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Leaf economics and plant hydraulics drive leaf: wood area ratios
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Number of Authors: 152019 (English)In: New Phytologist, ISSN 0028-646X, E-ISSN 1469-8137, Vol. 224, no 4, p. 1544-1556Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Biomass and area ratios between leaves, stems and roots regulate many physiological and ecological processes. The Huber value H-v (sapwood area/leaf area ratio) is central to plant water balance and drought responses. However, its coordination with key plant functional traits is poorly understood, and prevents developing trait-based prediction models. Based on theoretical arguments, we hypothesise that global patterns in H-v of terminal woody branches can be predicted from variables related to plant trait spectra, that is plant hydraulics and size and leaf economics. Using a global compilation of 1135 species-averaged H-v, we show that H-v varies over three orders of magnitude. Higher H-v are seen in short small-leaved low-specific leaf area (SLA) shrubs with low K-s in arid relative to tall large-leaved high-SLA trees with high K-s in moist environments. All traits depend on climate but climatic correlations are stronger for explanatory traits than H-v. Negative isometry is found between H-v and K-s, suggesting a compensation to maintain hydraulic supply to leaves across species. This work identifies the major global drivers of branch sapwood/leaf area ratios. Our approach based on widely available traits facilitates the development of accurate models of above-ground biomass allocation and helps predict vegetation responses to drought.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 224, no 4, p. 1544-1556
Keywords [en]
biomechanics, Corner's rules, Huber value, leaf economics spectrum, leaf size, trait trade-off, wood density, xylem hydraulics
National Category
Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171732DOI: 10.1111/nph.15998ISI: 000476435900001PubMedID: 31215647OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-171732DiVA, id: diva2:1349975
Available from: 2019-09-10 Created: 2019-09-10 Last updated: 2019-11-08Bibliographically approved

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Jansen, StevenManzoni, StefanoNiinemets, ÜloWright, Ian J.
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Department of Physical Geography
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