Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2008, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (2): 363-369.doi: 10.3773/j.issn.1005-264x.2008.02.013

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

STUDIES ON THE LEAF SIZE-TWIG SIZE SPECTRUM OF SUBTROPICAL EVERGREEN BOARD-LEAVED WOODY SPECIES

LIU Zhi-Guo1; CAI Yong-Li1*; LI Kai2   

  1. 1Shanghai key Laboratory for Ecology of Urbanization Process and Eco-Restoration/School of Resources and Environmental Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China; 2 School of life science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • Online:2008-03-30 Published:2008-03-30
  • Contact: CAI Yong-Li

Abstract:

Aims An important aim of plant ecology is to identify and quantify key dimensions of ecological variation among species and to understand the basis for them. The leaf size-twig size spectrum is an important dimension that is under development. Our aims were to determine if there is an invariant allometric scaling relationship between leaf size and twig size in subtropical evergreen broad-leaved woody species and to determine what indicates this relationship.
Methods We investigated leaf and stem traits—including leaf and stem mass, individual leaf area, total leaf area, stem cross-sectional area, leaf number and stem length—at the twig level for 68 evergreen broad-leaved species on Meihuashan Mountain in the subtropical zone of East China. We determined the scaling relationships between leaf traits and stem traits at the twig level. 
Important findings Twig cross-sectional area has an invariant allometric scaling relationships with leaf mass (SMA slope 1.29), total leaf area (1.23) and individual leaf area (1.18), all with common slopes being 1-1.5. Leaf mass is isometrically related to stem mass and leaf area. This suggests that there would be different metabolic ways between animal body and plant. Species with larger leaves deployed a greater total leaf area distal to the final branching point than smaller leaved species, with this leaf surface made up of fewer leaves per twig, even though the twigs were longer. This might result from the humid climate and weak light in subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest of this region.

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