Plant hydraulics at the heart of plant, crops and ecosystem functions in the face of climate change


Summary Plant hydraulics is crucial for assessing the plants’ capacity to extract and transport water from the soil up to their aerial organs. Along with their capacity to exchange water between plant compartments and regulate evaporation, hydraulic properties determine plant water relations, water status and susceptibility to pathogen attacks. Consequently, any variation in the hydraulic characteristics of plants is likely to significantly impact various mechanisms and processes related to plant growth, survival and production, as well as the risk of biotic attacks and forest fire behaviour. However, the integration of hydraulic traits into disciplines such as plant pathology, entomology, fire ecology or agriculture can be significantly improved. This review examines how plant hydraulics can provide new insights into our understanding of these processes, including modelling processes of vegetation dynamics, illuminating numerous perspectives for assessing the consequences of climate change on forest and agronomic systems, and addressing unanswered questions across multiple areas of knowledge.

New Phytologist