Generalist tree species growing across broad climatic gradients pose an intriguing question about how they can deal with such strong variations in climate. Studying the conductive system of trees may give a clue about their strategies to face rainfall variations.
In southern Chile, García-Cervigón et al. examine hydraulic adjustments at the branch anatomical level in Nothofagus antarctica (Nothofagaceae) and Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae) across a precipitation gradient from 500 to 2500 mm. Both species maintained hydraulic efficiency but combined with different levels of safety against embolism, which suggests the existence of alternative internal adjustments in coexisting species of temperate forests to face unpredictable climate changes.
García-Cervigón, A. I., Olano, J. M., von Arx, G., & Fajardo, A. (2018). Xylem adjusts to maintain efficiency across a steep precipitation gradient in two coexisting generalist species. Annals of Botany, 122(3), 461–472. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcy088