Stem Compression: A Means to Reversibly Reduce Phloem Transport in Tree Stems
Stem compression reduces or terminates the phloem-mediated transport of carbohydrates and other solutes in tree stems, without causing permanent damage to phloem functioning (Henriksson et al. Tree Physiol. 35:1075–1085, 2015). This has been tested on two species of pine trees, with diameters ranging from 3 to 26 cm in a forest in northern Sweden (Henriksson et al. Tree Physiol. 35:1075–1085, 2015) and in Harvard Forest, USA. Halting the phloem transport of trees in a forest is useful for studying tree physiological processes related to, or dependent on, phloem-transported compounds as well as downstream processes, in particular interactions with soil microbes. Phloem compression can be deployed in the lab and field on single trees, subsets, or over larger areas, depending on what is relevant for a particular research question.
Key wordsPhloem transport Belowground carbon allocation Whole-tree treatment Reversible Compression Girdling Phloem manipulation