Leaf life-span dynamics of woody species in tropical dry forests of India
R. K. Chaturvedi* and A. S. Raghubanshi
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Abstract: We analysed the diversity of leaf life-span in the woody species of Vindhyan highlands and grouped the plant species according to their leaf flushing period, leaf life span and leaf fall period. We also studied the factors influencing the foliar phenology of the woody species. The study was conducted on five sites (Hathinala, Gaighat, Harnakachar and Ranitali) within the tropical dry deciduous forest in northern India. Leaf life-spans of the woody species were highly variable. About 67% species had peak of their leaf flush initiation during summer period (pre-rain leaf flushing) and rest species had their peak leaf initiation during rainy season (post-rain leaf flushing). The peak period of leaf flushing initiation at all the sites was May when 52% of the species initiated their leaf formation and the peak period of leaf flushing completion was August when 38% of the plant species completed their leaf formation. The peak period of leaf fall initiation in maximum species (54%) at all sites was November and the peak period of leaf fall completion at all the sites was February when 63% of the species shed their leaves. The peak period of leaf flush initiation as well as leaf fall initiation in most of the species at dry sites was one month before as compared to that of moist sites.
Fig.: Monthly soil moisture content at the five study sites from January 2005 to December 2006.