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Ecological Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 247–266 | Cite as

Phenology of leaf morphological, photosynthetic, and nitrogen use characteristics of canopy trees in a cool-temperate deciduous broadleaf forest at Takayama, central Japan

  • Hibiki M. NodaEmail author
  • Hiroyuki Muraoka
  • Kenlo Nishida Nasahara
  • Nobuko Saigusa
  • Shohei Murayama
  • Hiroshi Koizumi
Special Feature Long-term and interdisciplinary research on forest ecosystem functions: Challenges at Takayama site since 1993

Abstract

We studied interannual variations in single-leaf phenology, i.e., temporal changes in leaf ecophysiological parameters that are responsible for forest canopy function, in a cool-temperate deciduous broadleaf forest at Takayama, central Japan. We conducted long-term in situ research from 2003 to 2010 (excluding 2008). We measured leaf mass per unit area (LMA), leaf chlorophyll and nitrogen contents, and leaf photosynthetic and respiratory characteristics [dark respiration, light-saturated photosynthetic rate (A max), maximum carboxylation rate (V cmax), and electron transport rate (J max)] of leaves of mature canopy trees of Betula ermanii Cham. and Quercus crispula Blume, from leaf expansion to senescence. All leaf characteristics changed markedly from leaf expansion (late May) through senescence (mid–late October). The photosynthetic capacity of B. ermanii leaves rapidly increased during leaf expansion and decreased during senescence, while that of Q. crispula leaves changed gradually. The relationships among LMA, photosynthetic capacity, and nitrogen content changed throughout the season. The timings (calendar dates) of leaf expansion, maturity, and senescence differed among the 7 years, indicating that interannual variations in micrometeorological conditions strongly affected leaf phenological events. We examined the seasonal changes as a function of the date or cumulative air temperatures. From leaf expansion to maturity, the increases in chlorophyll content, A max, V cmax, J max, and LMA were explained well by the growing-degree days, and their decreases in autumn were explained well by chilling-degree days. Our findings will be useful for predicting the effects of current variations in climatic conditions and future climate change on forest canopy structure and function.

Keywords

Carbon cycle Forest canopy Phenology model Photosynthesis Respiration 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank K. Kurumado, M. Ohno, Y. Miyamoto, and Y. Hiomo of the Takayama field station, Gifu University, and the “Takayama Community” members, especially S. Yamamoto and H. Kondo of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, A. Ito of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, T. Akiyama of Gifu University, T. Hiura of Hokkaido University, and J. D. Tenhunen of the University of Bayreuth, for their support during our field measurements and for encouragement during this long-term research. We also thank S. Kinoshita, Center for Environmental Measurement and Analysis, National Institute for Environmental Studies, for leaf nitrogen analyses. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on this manuscript. This long-term ecological research was supported by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, as a Global Environment Research Fund project (S-1, PI: T. Oikawa). This work was also supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) 21st Century COE Program (Satellite Ecology) at Gifu University, KAKENHI (JSPS grant no. 18710006 to HM), the JSPS-NRF-NSFC A3 Foresight Program (PI: H. Muraoka), the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund of the Ministry of Environment, Japan (D-0909, PI: T. Hiura), the Global Change Observation Mission of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (PI#102), and the JSPS Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers (to HM).

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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hibiki M. Noda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hiroyuki Muraoka
    • 2
  • Kenlo Nishida Nasahara
    • 3
  • Nobuko Saigusa
    • 1
  • Shohei Murayama
    • 4
  • Hiroshi Koizumi
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Global Environmental ResearchNational Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Basin Ecosystem StudiesGifu UniversityGifuJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of Life and Environment SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.Research Institute for Environmental Management TechnologyNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)TsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Department of Biology, Faculty of EducationWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

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