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Title: Leaf functional traits of Neotropical savanna trees in relation to seasonal water deficit.

Author: Franco, A.C.; Bustamante, M.; Caldas, L.S.; Goldstein, G.; Meinzer, F.C.; Kozovits, A.R.; Rundel, P.; Coradin, Vera T.R.;

Date: 2005

Source: Trees. 19: 326-335

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: The seasonal savannas (cerrados) of Central Brazil are characterized by a large diversity of evergreen and deciduous trees, which do not show a clear differentiation in terms of active rooting depth. Irrespective of the depth of the root system, expansion of new foliage in deciduous species occurs at the end of the dry season. In this study, we examined a suite of leaf traits related to C assimilation, water and nutrients (N, P) in five deciduous and six evergreen trees that were among the dominant families of cerrado vegetation. Maximum C02 assimilation on a mass basis (Amass) as significantly correlated with leaf N and P, and specific leaf area (SLA; leaf area per unit of leaf mass). The highest leaf concentrations of both nutrients were measured in the newly mature leaves of deciduous species at the end of the dry period. The differences in terms of leaf N and P between evergreen and deciduous species decreased during the wet season. Deciduous species also invested less in the production of non-photosynthetic leaf tissues and produced leaves with higher SLA and maintained higher water use efficiency. Thus, deciduous species compensated for their shorter leaf payback period by maintaining higher potential payback capacity (higher values of Amass) and lower leaf construction costs (higher SLA). Their short leafless period and the capacity to flush by the end of the dry season may also contribute to offset the longer payback period of evergreen species, although it may involve the higher cost of maintaining a deep-root system or a tight control of plant water balance in the shallow-rooted ones.

Keywords: carbon isotope discrimination, leaf level traits, photosynthesis, stable isotope ratios, water use efficiency

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Franco, A.C.; Bustamante, M.; Caldas, L.S.; Goldstein, G.; Meinzer, F.C.; Kozovits, A.R.; Rundel, P.; Coradin, Vera T.R. 2005. Leaf functional traits of Neotropical savanna trees in relation to seasonal water deficit. Trees. 19: 326-335

 


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