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Variation in Maximum Leaf Area of Coniferous Forests in Oregon and Its Ecological Significance

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Maximum leaf areas (calculated for all surfaces) accumulated by 40 mature forest stands in western Oregon ranged from 5 to 53 m2m-2. Forests of the west-central Cascade Mountains had much more leaf area than forests in the eastern Siskiyou Mountains along the California border. In both regions, environmental analyses correlated high maximum leaf areas with moderate air and soil temperature and with adequate soil moisture. The Siskiyou Mountains, with a more continental climate than the Cascades, had generally lower leaf areas. There the greater evaporation in the summer and colder winter temperatures apparently restrict leaf area development more than in the Cascades. In both regions, nutritional limitations may restrict the leaf areas to considerably less than the potential afforded by local climatic conditions. Forest Sci. 24:131-140.

Keywords: Biomass; environmental gradients; photosynthesis; respiration

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195

Publication date: March 1, 1978

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