Heat tracer-based sap flow methods for tree transpiration measurements: a mini review and bibliometric analysis

Jiaming Wang, Neil C. Turner, Hao Feng, Miles Dyck, Hailong He

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate measurement of plant transpiration is critical to gaining a better understanding of plant water use and exploration of the influence of plants on regional and even global climate. Heat tracer-based sap flow (HTSF) techniques are currently the dominant method to estimate plant transpiration at the individual plant level. However, the majority of current research focuses on specific applications or the evaluation of the method itself, and there is a lack of an overall analysis of HTSF methods. The objectives of this study were: (i) to briefly review the theories and categories of the various HTSF methods, and (ii) to undertake a bibliometric analysis of the use of HTSF methods in measuring plant transpiration. Each HTSF method is described mathematically and their application and pros and cons are briefly discussed. A bibliometric analysis was conducted using 3964 papers published between 1992 and 2020 archived in the Web of Science core collection. The analysis identified publication trends, the most productive authors, organizations, and countries, as well as the most utilized HTSF method (i.e., thermal dissipation) and journals in which these papers were published. In addition, world distribution maps of the use of HTSF methods and tree species measured were drawn based on 741 selected publications with in situ measurements. Using literature review and bibliometrics analyses we provide a comprehensive understanding of the heat tracer-based sap flow measurements of plant transpiration
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-742
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number3
Early online date22 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2023


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