Biogeography of Leaf Longevity and Foliar Habit

  • Kihachiro KikuzawaEmail author
  • Martin J. Lechowicz
Part of the Ecological Research Monographs book series (ECOLOGICAL)


There is, apparently, no general restriction on variation in leaf longevity per se along local and regional spatial gradients. Leaf longevity is only part of a suite of foliar traits that act in concert to ensure effective photosynthetic function in a given environmental regime (Wright et al. 2004; Shipley et al. 2006). Coordinated quantitative variation among the set of foliar traits can underpin equivalently effective photosynthetic function despite considerable variation in leaf longevity (Marks and Lechowicz 2006). As a consequence, leaf longevity typically varies substantially among species even in a single locality, a point made forcefully in earlier chapters but worth reinforcing here with another example. A careful study of 100 species representing four growth forms in the understory of a tropical montane forest (Fig. 9.1) shows the high variability in leaf survivorship curves among co-occurring species; survivorship, in turn, is consistently correlated with elements in the leaf economic spectrum (Wright et al. 2004) as well as with aspects of foliar defense such as condensed tannin content and leaf toughness (Shiodera et al. 2008).


Deciduous Species Evergreen Species Leaf Longevity Favorable Period Tropical Montane Forest 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ishikawa Prefectural UniversityNonoichiJapan
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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