African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6574

Full Length Research Paper

Leaf trait patterns of monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forest in relation to growth form

Wande Liu, Shuaifeng Li, Jianrong Su* and Zhijun Zhang    
Research Institute of Resources Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Kunming 650224, China.    
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 April 2012
  •  Published: 19 May 2012


Recent studies into the interrelationships of plant traits have generated important insights into plant form and function. However, knowledge of the relationships between leaf area, leaf shape and plant height remains poorly resolved. We explored the relationships between leaf traits by testing differences in leaf area (LA), specific leaf area, specific leaf weight, leaf nitrogen content, leaf phosphorus content (leaf P), and leaf construction cost between species and growth forms. The leaf characteristics were compared among different growth forms in monsoon evergreen broad-leaved forests in Southwest China for trees, shrubs, and lianas. The results showed significant differences exist for the mean of all leaf traits except for LA and leaf P, while we did find significant differences for the weighted mean of LA and leaf P among trees, shrubs, and lianas. At the species scale, six leaf traits and the first principal component (PC1) were unrelated to plant height. PC1 captured 50.92% of the variation contained in all six leaf traits at the species scale. PC1 captured 67.91% of the variation contained in all six leaf traits at the growth form scale. Relationships among leaf traits differed by growth form indicating leaf traits were affected by growth form.


Key words: Coefficient of variation, leaf construction cost, leaf N content, leaf P content, specific leaf area, vertical gradient.