Physiological Mechanisms Underlying the Seasonality of Leaf Senescence and Renewal in Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest Trees



Seasonality in the presence and production of leaves is the defining characteristic of seasonally dry tropical forest (SDTF) ecosystems and has important implications for their functioning. Temporal patterns of shoot activity influence photosynthetic carbon gain and thus affect competition between tree phenological types (Givnish 2002), the seasonal rhythms of tree-herbivore interactions (Leigh 1999; Dirzo and Boege 2009), and the annual ecosystem carbon uptake and energy fluxes (Kucharik et al. 2006). The impact of leaf phenology on tree carbon return is associated with its effect on the length of leaf exposure to herbivore and pathogen damage, the timing of leaf loss for water balance, and the energy investment in leaf construction (Franco et al. 2005). The timing and the length of leaf presence in tropical forests has also been suggested to play a key role in maintaining tree diversity by regulating the abundance of pest pressures (Leigh et al. 2004).


Hydraulic Conductance Leaf Senescence Deciduous Species Hydraulic Lift Leaf Abscission 
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© Island Press 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityUSA

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