"The increase in CO2 concentration and globalscale trends of rising temperature will have progressive and cumulative effects on especially forested ecosystems. It is largely debated whether forest trees will be able to adapt in situ fast enough to outstrip the higher frequency of extreme phenomena. In this sense, the long-term acclimation of the structure-function relations of the hydraulic system seems to play a key role to assure tree resilience. In HYDROPIT we will identify which hydraulic traits involved in adaptation are likely to show important plastic responses to particular changing environmental conditions and to develop predictors to enable us to generalize about the sorts of species likely to exhibit these plastic responses. Those traits will be then examined in the light of projected climate conditions: experimentally raised CO2 concentration. To achieve these objectives the project will be implemented in three stages: 1) the study of phenotypic variability in natural populations growing in contrasted climatic conditions; 2) the disentanglement between genetic and environmental effects in hydraulic traits using a common garden and 3) the assessment of acclimation in the first-ever full FACE (i.e. free-air CO2 enrichment). This project will contribute to a consistent worldwide quality reference for the development of strategies that may be useful for public administrators, forest owners, industry and non-governmental organisations in order to enhance integration of adaptive strategies in forest management planning."
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