A physiological model of softwood growth
Cambial growth was modelled as a function of detailed levelled physiological processes for cell enlargement and water and sugar transport to the cambium. Cambial growth was described at the cell level where local sugar concentration and turgor pressure induce irreversible cell expansion and cell wall synthesis. It was demonstrated how transpiration and photosynthesis rates, metabolic and physiological processes and structural features of a tree mediate their effects directly on the local water and sugar status and influence cambial growth. Large trees were predicted to be less sensitive to changes in the transient water and sugar status, compared with smaller ones, as they have more water and sugar storage and were, therefore, less coupled to short-term changes in the environment. Modelling the cambial dynamics at the individual cell level turned out to be a complex task as the radial short-distance transport of water and sugars and control signals determining cell division and cessation of cell enlargement and cell wall synthesis had to be described simultaneously.
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