The prospect of future climate change has stimulated research into the physiological responses of plants to stress. Water is a key factor controlling the distribution and abundance of plants in nature and the efficient uptake and subsequent transport of water within the plant is critical in hot, dry regions. This book, based on a meeting which focused on the failure of the hydraulic pathway within the xylem, brings together contributions from a range of experts who have worked on the cavitation of water in the transport system. The phenomenon of cavitation, discovered only in the 1960s, is now becoming recognised as being widespread and, whilst its ecological significance is a matter for further research, many scientists consider than embolism in the xylem predisposes plants to further water stress. Cavitation and refilling may, therefore, hold the key to vegetational response to climatic warming and drying. This book will provide a valuable compendium of information for those working in the plant and environmental sciences as well as for those whose interests lie in the more applied disciplines of agriculture and forestry.