Predictive models for radial sap flux variation in coniferous, diffuse-porous and ring-porous temperate trees

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Abstract

Accurately scaling sap flux observations to tree or stand levels requires accounting for variation in sap flux between wood types and by depth into the tree. However, existing models for radial variation in axial sap flux are rarely used because they are difficult to implement, there is uncertainty about their predictive ability and calibration measurements are often unavailable. Here we compare different models with a diverse sap flux data set to test the hypotheses that radial profiles differ by wood type and tree size. We show that radial variation in sap flux is dependent on wood type but independent of tree size for a range of temperate trees. The best-fitting model predicted out-of-sample sap flux observations and independent estimates of sapwood area with small errors, suggesting robustness in the new settings. We develop a method for predicting whole-tree water use with this model and include computer code for simple implementation in other studies.

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