University Of Tasmania
151182 - Measuring the pulse of trees.pdf (682.27 kB)

Measuring the pulse of trees; using the vascular system to predict tree mortality in the 21st century

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 09:42 authored by Timothy BrodribbTimothy Brodribb, Cochard, H, Celia Rodriguez Dominguez
Tree mortality during hot and dry conditions presents a stark reminder of the vulnerability of plant species to climatic extremes. The current global warming trend makes predicting the impacts of hot/dry events on species survival an urgent task; yet, the standard tools for this purpose lack a physiological basis. This review examines a diversity of recent evidence demonstrating how physiological attributes of plant vascular systems can explain not only why trees die during drought, but also their distributional limits according to rainfall. These important advances in the science of plant water transport physiology provide the basis for new hydraulic models that can provide credible predictions of not only how but when, where and which species will be impacted by changes in rainfall and temperature in the future. Applying a recently developed hydraulic model using realistic parameters, we show that even apparently safe mesic forest in central France is predicted to experience major forest mortality before the end of the century.


Publication title

Conservation Physiology



Article number









School of Natural Sciences


Oxford University Press

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems; Ecosystem adaptation to climate change