Leaf phenology and leaf damage of saplings in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico

TitleLeaf phenology and leaf damage of saplings in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsAngulo-Sandoval, P, Aide, TM
JournalBiotropica
Volume32
Issue3
Pagination415-422
Accession NumberLUQ.13
Keywordstropics
Abstract

Changes in light or water availability can result in synchronous leaf production, concentrating food availability for herbivores of young leaves to only a few months. To determine the importance of food availability on herbivory, leaf phenology and leaf damage were studied in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) of Puerto Rico. We studied 20 individuals of eight species for two years. Every month, new leaves were marked; the following month, leaf area and area of damage were measured. Over two years, comparison of leaf production and percent herbivory were performed for each species, and for all species taken together. More than 30 percent of the annual leaf production occurred in May and June. Leaf production was associated with an increase in PFD (photon flux density) and was not related to the patterns of rainfall. Although leaf production was synchronous, there were no differences in herbivory between the peak and non-peak periods of leaf production. Possible explanations for the constant levels of herbivory throughout the year are the presence of a generalist herbivore community, the ability of herbivores to track changes in food availability, or high densities of herbivore predators that control herbivore populations.

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