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Variation in longevity and traits of leaves among co-occurring understorey plants in a tropical montane forest

Journal Article

Shiodera S; Rahajoe JS; Kohyama T

2008

Journal of Tropical Ecology

24

121-133

The relationship between leaf longevity and other leaf traits was compared among different life-form categories (trees herbs climbers and epiphytes) of 101 plant species in a tropical montane forest on Mt. Halimun West Java Indonesia. We applied the Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate the leaf longevity of each species from 30 mo of census data. We examined whether estimated longevity was explained by either species life-form categories taxonomic groupings (eudicots monocots magnoliids and chloranthales and ferns) or such leaf traits as leaf area leaf mass per area (LMA) mass-based leaf nitrogen penetrometer reading condensed-tannin-free total phenolics and condensed tannin. There was a wide-ranged interspecific variation in leaf longevity mostly 10–50 mo similarly across life-form categories. LMA showed a strong positive influence on leaf longevity. We found that relationships between leaf longevity and some leaf traits were different among various life forms. Trees tended to have high LMA while climbers tended to have low LMA at the same leaf longevity. We hypothesize that such difference among life forms reflects shoot architecture characteristics. Multi-shoot trees with branching architecture need to have self-supporting leaves whereas semi-epiphytic climbers can maintain relatively low biomass investment to leaves hanging or relying upon the mechanical support from host plants.

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Support

The Liana Ecology Project is supported by Marquette University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation.