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Which root architectural elements contribute the best to anchorage of Pinus species? Insights from in silico experiments

Yang M., Defossez P., Danjon F., Dupont S., Fourcaud T.. 2017. Plant and Soil, 411 (1-2) : p. 275-291.

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-016-2992-0

Background and Aims Root anchorage function is crucial for tree survival as most trees are exposed to recurrent wind throughout their lifespan. Trees exhibit a large variability of root system architecture (RSA) due genetic and environmental factors. This study aims to understand the links between RSA and tree stability. Methods A 3D biomechanical model was used to simulate tree overturning. To capture the variability of sinker RSA, fourteen virtual root patterns were created from an ensemble average of measured Pinus pinaster root systems. Root virtual patterns and tree-pulling simulations were verified against experimental data. Results The model predicts realistic tree anchorage strength, root stress, and failure patterns. Only a few root components contribute significantly to anchorage strength. The taproot contributes the most to anchorage rigidity, representing 61 % of the anchorage strength. The windward roots failure drives ultimate anchorage failure, representing 25 % of the anchorage strength. Simulations show that root secondary thickening induces higher anchorage rigidity and increases anchorage strength by 58 %. Conclusions This innovative approach appears promising for describing tree stability and its acclimation to external constraints.

Mots-clés : pinus pinaster; racine; morphologie végétale; anatomie végétale; port de la plante; enracinement; facteur climatique; vent; propriété mécanique; Élasticité; modèle mathématique

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