Stable isotopes in arid and semi-arid forest systems

J. P. Ferrio, V. Resco, D. G. Williams, L. Serrano, J. Voltas


The use of stable isotope techniques in forest ecology research has grown steadily over the last two decades. This trend will continue, as stable isotopes can serve as valuable integrators of how plants have interacted, today and in the past, with their physical environment or with other organisms. This is particularly relevant in dry areas due to the strong limitation of resources. After a brief introduction about the theoretical background of stable isotopes in plant physiology, this review highlights recent advances in forest ecology that have embraced this methodology, at different spatial and temporal scales, and with special emphasis on arid and semi-arid systems.


ecophysiology; 13C; 18O; 2H; drought; water-use efficiency; climate

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DOI: 10.5424/srf/2005143-00929