iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Sap flow, leaf-level gas exchange and spectral responses to drought in Pinus sylvestris, Pinus pinea and Pinus halepensis

José Antonio Manzanera (1)   , Aranzazu Gómez-Garay (2), Beatriz Pintos (2), Manuel Rodríguez-Rastrero (3), Eugenio Moreda (2), Javier Zazo (1), Eugenio Martínez-Falero (1), Antonio García-Abril (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 204-214 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1748-009
Published: Nov 01, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Research Articles

In a climate change scenario, Mediterranean forest species such as pines may be endangered by rising temperatures and reduced precipitation, thus calling for studies on the transpiration and water balance in pines. In this paper, the response of young plants of Pinus sylvestris L., Pinus pinea L. and Pinus halepensis Mill. to different irrigation treatments has been studied. Significant differences were found in water potential, sap flow, leaf-level gas exchange and spectral variables. P. sylvestris had higher pre-dawn and midday water potentials, sap flow rates and leaf-level gas exchange rates compared to the other two species in well-watered conditions. Vapor pressure gradient correlated with stomatal conductance, net assimilation and transpiration, but the association between stomatal conductance and sap flow was weak. The environmental variables more strongly associated with sap flow were solar radiation and reference evapo-transpiration, especially in the well-watered plants, but those associations were weaker in the stressed plants. All three pine species showed the isohydric, drought-avoiding strategy common in the genus Pinus, maintaining relatively high water potentials in dry conditions. Nevertheless, P. halepensis showed a water-saving strategy, with a stomatal closure behavior under drought. Stomatal regulation was less strict in P. sylvestris, closer to a water-spending pattern, while P. pinea showed an intermediate behavior. Significant differences were recorded among species in spectral reflectance in the visible and infra-red regions. Photochemical Reflectance Index, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and combinations of other ratios permitted the discrimination among the three pine species. These spectral variables showed association with sap flow rate, water potential and leaf-level gas exchange variables. Both cluster analysis and k-means classification discriminated Scots pine and Aleppo pine in two different groups. On the other hand, Stone pine showed differences in spectral behavior depending on the hydric status of the plants. Well-watered Stone pine plants had the same spectral behavior as Scots pine, while the plants subjected to drought stress were closer to Aleppo pine plants in spectral response. These findings may help to quantify the impacts of early and mid-summer water deficit on Mediterranean pines in future climate regimes.


Carbon Assimilation, Aleppo Pine, Hydric Relations, Reflectance, Scots Pine, Stone Pine, Transpiration

Authors’ address

José Antonio Manzanera
Javier Zazo
Eugenio Martínez-Falero
Antonio García-Abril
Technical University of Madrid, College of Forestry and Natural Environment, Ciudad Universitaria, Moncloa Campus of International Excellence, 28040 Madrid (Spain)
Aranzazu Gómez-Garay
Beatriz Pintos
Eugenio Moreda
Complutense University of Madrid, Dept. of Plant Physiology, Ciudad Universitaria, Moncloa Campus of International Excellence, 28040 Madrid (Spain)
Manuel Rodríguez-Rastrero
Autonomous University of Madrid, Madrid (Spain)

Corresponding author

José Antonio Manzanera


Manzanera JA, Gómez-Garay A, Pintos B, Rodríguez-Rastrero M, Moreda E, Zazo J, Martínez-Falero E, García-Abril A (2016). Sap flow, leaf-level gas exchange and spectral responses to drought in Pinus sylvestris, Pinus pinea and Pinus halepensis. iForest 10: 204-214. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1748-009

Academic Editor

Tamir Klein

Paper history

Received: Jun 24, 2015
Accepted: Jul 16, 2016

First online: Nov 01, 2016
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2017
Publication Time: 3.60 months

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