Written Paper

Periodicity of leaf growth and leaf dry mass changes in the evergreen and deciduous species of Southern Assam, India  [2014]

Athokpam, Florida Devi Garkoti, S. C. Borah, N.

Access the full text

The study described patterns of leaf dry mass change, leaf mass per area (LMA), relative growth rate and leaf life span (LL) for 14 evergreen and 7 deciduous species of a tropical forest of Southern Assam, India. Leaf expansion in both the groups was, in general, completed before June (i.e. well before the onset of monsoon rains). Although leaf dry mass during leaf initiation phase was significantly higher (P� <� 0.01) in evergreen species than in deciduous species, at the time of full leaf expansion, average leaf dry mass relative to the peak leaf dry mass, realised by the evergreen species was lower (66� %) than for deciduous species (76� %). Leaf dry mass increase in both groups continued after leaf full expansion. Evergreen species had a longer leaf dry mass steady phase than deciduous species (2–6 vs 2–3� months). Average LMA of mature leaves for evergreen species (77.43� g� m⁻²) was significantly greater than that of deciduous species (48.43� g� m⁻²). LL ranged from 165� days in Gmelina arborea (deciduous) to 509� days in Dipterocarpus turbinatus (evergreen). LMA was correlated positively with LL, indicating that evergreen species with higher leaf construction cost retain leaves for longer period to pay back. The average leaf dry mass loss before leaf shedding was greater (P� <� 0.01) for deciduous species (30.29� %) than for evergreen species (18.31� %). Although the cost of leaf construction in deciduous species was lower than for evergreen species
, they replace leaves at a faster rate. Deciduous species perhaps compensate the cost involved in faster leaf replacement through higher reabsorption of dry mass during senescence, which they remobilise to initiate growth in the following spring when soil resources remain limiting.

From the journal

Ecological research

ISSN : 0912-3814