Drought-Stress Effects on Leaf Carbon Balance
variation in water supply has been shown to affect structure and productivity of land plant communities, the distribution patterns of individual species, and evolution of a number of adaptive traits. Water deficits have a fundamental influence on metabolism and growth of the individual. To a significant degree, moisture-related phenomena at the population and community levels can be explained in terms of the behavior of individual plants. In this regard, maintenance of a positive carbon balance is critical to the survival of individuals. Species differ in their ability to continue net uptake of carbon under drought conditions. After a brief review of water stress effects on leaf CO2 exchange, we present evidence that, in order to understand the value of many specific adaptations to water stress, we need to focus greater attention on plant carbon balance within real environments and over ecologically relevant time scales.
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