, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 109-118
Date: 09 Jun 2010

Leaf area index of a tropical semi-deciduous forest of the southern Amazon Basin

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Leaf area index (LAI) is an important ecophysiological variable because leaves are the organs responsible for gas exchange between plants and the atmosphere. This variable can be calculated from primary values of leaf area assessed by destructive or non-destructive methods, which is relatively easy when crop species are investigated, but is not the case when the focus is on natural wood plants communities. In this paper, we analyze the seasonality of LAI estimated by three different methods in the Amazonia-savannah transitional forest, located 50 km north-east of Sinop city, Mato Grosso, Brazil. In the first method, we combine Monsi and Saekis' original method [Monsi M, Saeki T (1953) Jpn J Bot 14:22–52], which measures LAI using the Beer-Lambert extinction law, and the proposition of Goudriaan [Goudriaan J (1988) Agric For Meteorol 43:155–169] to estimate the extinction coefficient from solar height. The second method differed from the first only in the way in which the daily fraction of intercepted photosynthetic active radiation (FPAR) was calculated, as proposed by Charles-Edwards and Lawn (Charles-Edwards DA, Lawn RJ (1984) Plant Cell Environ 7:247–251]. In the third method, we used a remote sensing technique [MOD15_BU-collection 4, produced and distributed by EROS Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (EDC DAAC)]. We found that the first and the second methods revealed the expected LAI dynamics, which increased during the dry–wet transition and wet season, and decreased during the wet–dry transition and dry season. From 20 randomly distributed sets in a 1.0 ha area, only 3 showed significant differences in LAI estimated from the first two methods; conversely, LAI was overestimated by the third method.