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Abstract Detail


Fournier, Meriem [1], Dlouhá, Jana [2], Constant, Thiéry [2], Ruelle, Julien [2], Clair, Bruno [3], Alméras, Tancrede [4].

Compression wood, tension wood with ou without G fibers, eccentric growth … several ways to control the tree posture, more or less efficiently according to other tree and stem features.

The main biological function of reaction wood is to act as “muscle” for trees, enabling them to control their posture and right stems when they are permanently disturbed from their set-point inclination by gravity or winds. The key property to achieve this function is the development of high mechanical stress during the formation of reaction wood cells, called “maturation strains”. Moreover, this function is basically performed through the asymmetric formation of wood (in quantity or quality) around the tree circumference. This asymmetry enables stems to bend upward or to compensate for the downward bending induced by gravity, as an asymmetric force associated to maturation strains creates a bending moment (i.e. one side of the stem “pulls” the other one). We will discuss the traits (cross sectional size and shape, wood features as G fibers or microfibril angle, eccentric growth even in usual or extreme cases as buttresses, total biomass growth and height of center of mass, stem lean and set-point angle) involved to understand how the posture control works. We will give simple formulas to estimate a “muscle efficiency” from biomechanical modeling. We will give practical methods to estimate all the involved traits, especially maturation strains from direct and indirect measurements, in peripheral functional wood or by retrospective dendrochronological analysis. Then, we will illustrate how tree stem tropisms and especially gravitropism, widely studied by physiologists, are key processes in natural ecosystems, through practical examples from tropical rainforest tree communities and  regeneration of European mixed beech forests.  Using the previous definition of postural control efficiency, we will show that the cross section size is rapidly a limiting factor, opposing the extreme strategies of flexible small stems, which bend easily but also right themselves quickly, to stiff big stems. Lastly, as wood in living trees ensures general storage, defence, vascular and skeletal functions, we will ask general questions about synergies and trade-offs between posture control and other functions.

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1 - Lerfob, AgroParistech, Labex ARBRE, 14 rue Girardet, Nancy, 54000, France
2 - LERFoB, INRA, Labex ARBRE, Centre de Nancy, Champenoux, 54280, France
3 - Ecofog, CNRS, Campus Agronomique, Kourou, French Guiana, 97310, France
4 - Lmgc, CNRS, Montpellier, 34000, France


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 15
Location: Firs South/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 11:30 AM
Number: 15014
Abstract ID:460
Candidate for Awards:None

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