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Structural Phenology of the Leaf Community in the Canopy of a Liriodendron tulipifera L. Forest in Maryland, USA

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We measured the vertical dynamics of leaf area in a tall, tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)-dominated, deciduous forest on the Maryland coastal plain over three growing seasons (one intensively) using nondestructive, ground-based observations. Leaf area index (LAI) and leaf area density (LAD) were calculated by vertical level, time, and species; the time-integrated duration of leaf display (leaf area extent, LAE) was estimated by species and vertical level. In this stand LAI rises rapidly in the spring, declines slightly during the growing season, and then rapidly in the fall. In the intensively studied year, total LAI peaked at 7.1 m2m−2, LAE was 1259 m2m−2day, and the length of the canopy season (time from half-maximum LAI at leaf-out to the half-maximum at decline) was 191 days. The maximum growing season LAI, the date of leaf emergence, and the LAE differed among years, ranging 0.61 m2m−2, 14 days, and 261 m2m−2day, respectively. However, the timing of leaf fall was more consistent, ranging only 6 days. Each species differs in its height distribution, density, and timing of foliar display. In the canopy, leaf number, area, and duration are the bases of species importance; these differ substantially by species from typical importance values derived from stem-based attributes (density, basal area, biomass). FOR. SCI. 50(3):387–397.

Keywords: Canopy cover; environmental management; foliage-height profile; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; leaf area index; natural resource management; natural resources; spring ephemerals

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center P.O. Box 28 Edgewater MD 21037 Phone: (443) 483-2210;, Fax: (443) 482-2380, Email: 2: 13524 Garter Court Clifton VA 20124

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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