Plant Ecology pp 303-327 | Cite as

Thermal Balance of Plants and Plant Communities

  • Ernst-Detlef Schulze
  • Erwin Beck
  • Nina Buchmann
  • Stephan Clemens
  • Klaus Müller-Hohenstein
  • Michael Scherer-Lorenzen


This chapter focuses on the physical basis of the exchange of solar energy. As an introduction to the topic, the energy balance of the atmosphere is explained, followed by a section on the microclimate near the ground surface. It is the exchange of energy that determines the temperature near the ground as modified by biotic and abiotic factors. On the basis of the understanding of climate drivers near the Earth’s surface, the energy balance of a leaf is discussed, which mainly involves adaptations of the leaf surface to absorb or reflect solar energy and a balance of sensible and latent heat transfer. Plants are adapted to cope with climate extremes on the basis of modifications in their physical energy transfer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst-Detlef Schulze
    • 1
  • Erwin Beck
    • 2
  • Nina Buchmann
    • 3
  • Stephan Clemens
    • 2
  • Klaus Müller-Hohenstein
    • 4
  • Michael Scherer-Lorenzen
    • 5
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for BiogeochemistryJenaGermany
  2. 2.Department of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Systems ScienceETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of BiogeographyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  5. 5.Chair of Geobotany, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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