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Water usage in plants - Nature article

A new global study on plants and water is published this week in Nature Climate Change. LUCCI scientist Maj-Lena Linderson is co-author.

Plants swop water against carbon - every litre of water they use from the soil, they can use to take up a couple of grams of carbon to grow. A new global study published this week in Nature Climate Change shows that plants are wise in their water usage. They are adapted to the environment they live in and how accessible water is in that environment, and has created different strategies on how economic they must be in their water usage.

The study calculated how much additional water is required for plants to enable them to take up another gram of carbon for their growth. The hypothesis was that the relationship between water use and carbon uptake is constant for a given species, but that there is a variety between species, as they usually grow in different environments.

The studies of the different ecosystems showed that plants generally have adapted their strategies on how they use water to the environment, but that there are also outliers. Savannah trees that typically grow in hot and dry area, are relatively lavish with water.

This study gives us information about how plants have adapted to the environment they grow in. If we know how they work today, we can better understand the relationship between the environment, climate and plants in the future.

Main author: Yan-Shih Lin, Macquarie University NSW, Australia.

 

 

 

 

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