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We propose, implement and evaluate new energy conservation schemes for efficient data propagation in wireless sensor networks. Our protocols are adaptive, i.e. locally monitor the network conditions and accordingly adjust towards optimal operation choices. This dynamic feature is particularly beneficial in heterogeneous settings and in cases of redeployment of sensor devices in the network area. We implement our protocols and evaluate their performance through a detailed simulation study using our extended version of ns-2. In particular we combine our schemes with known communication paradigms. The simulation findings demonstrate significant gains and good trade-offs in terms of delivery success, delay and energy dissipation.