Phenology and Stem Diameter Increment Seasonality in a Costa Rican Wet Tropical Forest
O'Brien, Joseph J. | Oberbauer, Steven F. | Clark, David B. | Clark, Deborah A.
The relationship between phenology and tree stem diameter increment is largely unexplored in tropical species, especially in wet tropical forests. To explore links between these phenomena, we measured stem diameter increment and phenology of ten canopy tree species from a range of functional types in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica to test for seasonal and interannual patterns. We measured stem diameter increment using band dendrometers and visually assessed leaf and reproductive phenology monthly from 1997 to 2000. We categorized the species into groups based on patterns of leaf exchange and reproduction. Species were either deciduous with synchronous or asynchronous leaf drop, or evergreen with continuous or seasonal leaf flushing. Flowering occurred supra-annually, annually, or continuously. Of the ten species studied, four species, Cecropia insignis, Dipteryx panamensis, Lecythis ampla, and Simarouba amara, had consistent seasonal stem diameter increment patterns in both years. Dipteryx panamensis and L. ampla were deciduous with synchronized leaf drop. Cecropia insignis was evergreen and produced new leaves continuously. Simarouba amara, also evergreen, exchanged leaves over a brief period once a year. We tested whether stem diameter increment was correlated to phenology using logistic regression. Leaflessness significantly explained patterns in stem diameter increment but reproductive phenology did not. Deciduous trees were 2.6-9.3 times more likely to grow less than average the month following leaffall than in months when trees had full crowns.Show more [+] Less [-]