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Acclimatation des arbres forestiers au vent : de la perception du vent à ses conséquences sur la croissance et le dimensionnement des tiges.

Abstract : Storms are by far the major hazard damaging the trees. However, trees do not just behave passively in the wind. They sense their own strains under the influence of an external force such as wind andrespond by modifying their growth and the mechanical properties of their tissues. But this process, called thigmomorphogenesis, has mainly been studied in very young trees in controlled conditions. This thesis aims to expand for the first time such studies at the scale of a forest stand in order to understand how adult trees acclimate to the wind in natural conditions by adapting their growth. It relies on an experimental set up in a regular stand of beech (Fagus sylvatica) which have never be thinned. The wind speed, the longitudinal strains and the radial growth of fifteen pairs of trees with contrasted sizes and wind exposures (split into two social status, dominant and suppressed trees) were monitored for one year. By controlling the strain intensity experienced by the trees, either by guying or by additional bendings, we show that the trees respond only to mechanical stimulation caused by rather strong winds with a return period higher than a week. This response leads however to a very strong increase in radial growth. And it follows a law of mecano-sensing uniform among the trees, regardless of their sizes. We then studied the effects of the strain regulation on the mechanical design of the trees and the potential risk of stem breakage. Despite the contrasted sizes and wind exposures, the strain regime remained uniform within the beech stand, in agreement with the hypothesis of an optimal mechanical design often inferred but never validated in its mechanism. Finally, the constitutive equations of a possible growth model dependent on wind are proposed and discussed.
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Vivien Bonnesoeur. Acclimatation des arbres forestiers au vent : de la perception du vent à ses conséquences sur la croissance et le dimensionnement des tiges.. Bioclimatologie. AgroParisTech, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016AGPT0023⟩. ⟨tel-03000899⟩

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