Oecologia

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 114–119 | Cite as

Leaf flushing phenology and herbivory in a tropical dry deciduous forest, southern India

  • K. S. Murali
  • R. Sukumar
Original Papers

Abstract

Patterns of leaf-flushing phenology of trees in relation to insect herbivore damage were studied at two sites in a seasonal tropical dry forest in Mudumalai, southern India, from April 1988 to August 1990. At both sites the trees began to flush leaves during the dry season, reaching a peak leaf-flushing phase before the onset of rains. Herbivorous insects emerged with the rains and attained a peak biomass during the wet months. Trees that flushed leaves later in the season suffered significantly higher damage by insects compared to those that flushed early or in synchrony during the peak flushing phase. Species whose leaves were endowed with physical defenses such as waxes suffered less damage than those not possessing such defenses. There was a positive association between the abundance of a species and leaf damage levels. These observations indicate that herbivory may have played a major role in moulding leaf flushing phenology in trees of the seasonal tropics.

Key words

Phenology Leaf flushing Insect herbivory Tropical deciduous forests Southern India 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. S. Murali
    • 1
  • R. Sukumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of ScienceCentre for Ecological SciencesBangaloreIndia

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