About this Research Topic
Compared to leaves, bark is under-studied with regard to its role in the water cycle. This is an important knowledge gap as, unlike leaves, bark is ever-present in forest ecosystems and can represent a significant interface for water interaction. For example, a simple summation of stem area from vegetation data used in global land surface models reveals that the water cycle has an impressive bark surface area (>40 million km2) with which to interact. Bark is also porous, hygroscopic, present in litter layers from shedding, as well as on fallen woody debris, and performs a multitude of ecophysiological functions that can vary depending on its ontogeny, decomposition stage, or in response to disturbances (like insect infestation, fire, disease, etc.).
Finally, considering the particulates, organisms, and leachable/washable solutes present on and in bark, many opportunities may exist for improving forest ecohydrological understanding through the research of bark-water interactions. Thus, this collection aims to highlight the interactions of bark, whether living or decomposing, with any hydrologic processes (water storage, evaporation, uptake, transpiration, hygroscopicity, branchflow, stemflow, dendrotelmata, etc.) or related ecological processes (nutrient cycling, dispersal of microbes/microfauna, epiphyte ecology, etc.) across precipitation types (snow, rain, mist, fog, etc.) and disturbances.
We welcome studies on any aspect of bark-water interactions, including manuscripts detailing original research, methodologies, related biogeochemical or ecological processes, open questions, reviews, case studies, conceptual analyses, and brief research/data reports. Contributions from both field/lab scientists and modellers on topics from physical hydrology to ecophysiology are welcome.
Keywords: Bark, Ecohydrology, Forests, Biogeochemistry, Ecophysiology, #CollectionSeries
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.