Mechanisms of woody-plant mortality under rising drought, CO2 and vapour pressure deficit - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Nature Reviews Earth & Environment Year : 2022

Mechanisms of woody-plant mortality under rising drought, CO2 and vapour pressure deficit

Gerard Sapes
Brendan Choat
Martin de Kauwe
D. Scott Mackay
Belinda Medlyn
Anna Sala
  • Function : Author
David Tissue
Chonggang Xu

Abstract

Drought-associated woody-plant mortality has been increasing in most regions with multi-decadal records and is projected to increase in the future, impacting terrestrial climate forcing, biodiversity and resource availability. The mechanisms underlying such mortality, however, are debated, owing to complex interactions between the drivers and the processes. In this Review, we synthesize knowledge of drought-related tree mortality under a warming and drying atmosphere with rising atmospheric CO2. Drought-associated mortality results from water and carbon depletion and declines in their fluxes relative to demand by living tissues. These pools and fluxes are interdependent and underlay plant defences against biotic agents. Death via failure to maintain a positive water balance is particularly dependent on soil-to-root conductance, capacitance, vulnerability to hydraulic failure, cuticular water losses and dehydration tolerance, all of which could be exacerbated by reduced carbon supply rates to support cellular survival or the carbon starvation process. The depletion of plant water and carbon pools is accelerated under rising vapour pressure deficit, but increasing CO2 can mitigate these impacts. Advancing knowledge and reducing predictive uncertainties requires the integration of carbon, water and defensive processes, and the use of a range of experimental and modelling approaches. Enhanced drought frequency and magnitude have impacted tree mortality, leading to multiple examples of regional-scale dieback. This Review outlines the mechanisms leading to mortality, including carbon starvation and hydraulic failure.

Dates and versions

hal-03637531 , version 1 (11-04-2022)

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Nate Mcdowell, Gerard Sapes, Alexandria Pivovaroff, Henry Adams, Craig Allen, et al.. Mechanisms of woody-plant mortality under rising drought, CO2 and vapour pressure deficit. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 2022, 15 p. ⟨10.1038/s43017-022-00272-1⟩. ⟨hal-03637531⟩
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