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Trees, forests and water : resistance and resilience to water deficits

Editors: Erwin Dreyer, Hervé Cochard, Jean Marc Guehl, André Granier, INRAE and Maurizio Mencuccini, CREAF. 

This topical issue is dedicated to the memory of Gilbert Aussenac, former Chief Editor, who promoted research on water use and water relations in forests at INRAE in France, and of Pierre Cruiziat, who was a precursor for water relation studies in trees. They strongly influenced the development of this topic in France. Both researchers passed away in 2020.

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Ecophysiology and functional ecology of trees and forests have made tremendous progress over the last decades and attracted much attention in the context of gradual climate change, and of the extreme climatic events, particularly exceptionally severe water deficits that affected even mesic forests across the world. Our understanding of all aspects of tree water relations (extraction from soil, transfer, hydraulic functions and dysfunctions, stomatal control of transpiration, etc) have been largely refined at tree scale (use of novel methods to trace water transfer in living trees, automated and repeatable assessments of hydraulic dysfunctions, understanding of the coordination between hydraulic properties and stomatal dynamics, etc). 

Moreover, the interactions between water relations and other process like carbon assimilation, tissue growth, nutrition, biomechanical properties, are better understood to date. In parallel, the water cycle in forest ecosystems is now better documented and long term monitoring of canopy transpiration allows to dissect the impact of canopy properties, climate variations and water shortage on water use. Recent results insisted for instance on some underestimated parameters like the direct effect of vapour pressure deficit on productivity, or the importance of cuticular transpiration for tree death under extreme water deficits. These traits related to water relations and water-use display both a large genetic variability between species and populations within, as well as an important plasticity in response to changes. Such features are an important aspect to take into account in modelling water fluxes from soil to atmosphere. The improved understanding of these processes has had important consequences for the construction of canopy models aimed at predicting the impact of climate change and climatic extremes on forests across the world. However, the degree of complexity of some of the processes cited above, and the difficulty of parameterizing some crucial processes still creates specific problems in the implementation and routine use of such process based vegetation models, particularly for forests.

Submission Instructions: Prior to submission, please ensure you have carefully read the submission guidelines for the journal. To ensure that you submit to the correct article collection, please select the topical collection “Trees, Forest & Water” in the drop-down menu upon submission; in addition, indicate within your cover letter that you wish for your manuscript to be considered within this collection.

As Annals of Forest Science is published under a continuous publication scheme (papers are
published as soon as they have been accepted).

Submissions are open now and close by December 2023.

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Articles published in this collection

  1. Understanding plant resilience and adaptation to drought is a major challenge in crop and forest sciences. Several methods have been developed to assess the vulnerability to xylem embolism. The in situ flow ce...

    Authors: Régis Burlett, Camille Parise, Gaëlle Capdeville, Hervé Cochard, Laurent J. Lamarque, Andrew King and Sylvain Delzon
    Citation: Annals of Forest Science 2022 79:5
  2. Leaf-stem vulnerability segmentation predicts lower xylem embolism resistance in leaves than stem. However, although it has been intensively investigated these past decades, the extent to which...

    Authors: Sébastien Levionnois, Camille Ziegler, Patrick Heuret, Steven Jansen, Clément Stahl, Emma Calvet, Jean-Yves Goret, Damien Bonal and Sabrina Coste
    Citation: Annals of Forest Science 2021 78:87