A comparison of five methods to assess embolism resistance in trees

Sergent Anne Sophie, Varela Santiago A., Barigah Têté Sévérien, Badel Eric, Cochard Hervé, Dalla Salda Guillermina, Delzon Sylvain, Fernandez Maria Elena, Guillemot Joannès, Gyenge J., Lamarque L.J., Martinez Meier Alejandro, Rozenberg Philippe, Torres-Ruiz J.M., Martin-StPaul Nicolas K.. 2020. A comparison of five methods to assess embolism resistance in trees. Forest Ecology and Management, 468:118175, 12 p.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Abstract : Vulnerability to drought-induced embolism is a key trait that shapes drought resistance and that could be increasingly used to design climate-smart forest management guidelines and to anticipate the outcome of climate change on populations dynamics and ecosystems functioning. A panel of methods is currently available to measure embolism resistance. This makes crucial a proper identification of which methods are the most accurate for determining this trait. However, the measurement of embolism resistance is sensitive to numerous artifacts that may lead to large errors for a given species. In addition, not all methods are easily accessible because of the cost of some large equipment and/or certain lab facilities. The emergence of the easy and low cost Pneumatic method allows to perform vulnerability curves at high throughput. However, only few studies have evaluated the reliability of this method compared to others. In this study, we proposed a comparison of five methods that allowed to assess embolism resistance in eleven tree species with contrasting xylem anatomy and vessels length (six short vessel angiosperms, two tracheid bearing conifers and three long-vessel angiosperms), covering a large part of the range of embolism resistance observed in trees. Consistent results were obtained among all the methods for short-vessel angiosperm species. In tracheid-bearing conifers, the Pneumatic method overestimated vulnerability to embolism. In long-vessel species, the Pneumatic method led to inconsistent results with accurate vulnerability to cavitation curves (VCs) for one species but led to r-shaped VCs with a underestimation of incipient embolism for the two other ones. The comparison of VC parameters with turgor loss point is proposed as an indicator of the validity of the VCs. The conditions of validity, the advantages and pitfalls of the five methods are discussed. Our results warned against the widespread usages of some methods before rigorous validation tests have been performed.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Tolérance à la sécheresse, Résistance à la sécheresse, Maladie des plantes, santé des forêts

Mots-clés complémentaires : analyse comparative, Vulnérabilité

Mots-clés libres : Xylem embolism, Methods comparison, Drought tolerance traits, Vulnerability curve

Classification Agris : H20 - Plant diseases
H01 - Protection of plants - General aspects
K70 - Forest injuries and protection

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 4 (2019-) - Santé des plantes, des animaux et des écosystèmes

Agence(s) de financement européenne(s) : European Commission

Programme de financement européen : H2020

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Sergent Anne Sophie, INTA (ARG) - auteur correspondant
  • Varela Santiago A., INTA (ARG)
  • Barigah Têté Sévérien, Université Clermont Auvergne (FRA)
  • Badel Eric, Université Clermont Auvergne (FRA)
  • Cochard Hervé, Université Clermont Auvergne (FRA)
  • Dalla Salda Guillermina, INTA (ARG)
  • Delzon Sylvain, Université de Bordeaux (FRA)
  • Fernandez Maria Elena, INTA (ARG)
  • Guillemot Joannès, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR Eco&Sols (BRA) ORCID: 0000-0003-4385-7656
  • Gyenge J., CONICET (ARG)
  • Lamarque L.J., Université de Bordeaux (FRA)
  • Martinez Meier Alejandro, INTA (ARG)
  • Rozenberg Philippe, INRAE (FRA)
  • Torres-Ruiz J.M., Université Clermont Auvergne (FRA)
  • Martin-StPaul Nicolas K., INRAE (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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