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A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Leaves of Eight Australian Savanna Tree Species of Differing Leaf Life-Span

Eamus, Derek, Myers, Bronwyn A., Duff, Gordon A. and Williams, R. (1999). A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Leaves of Eight Australian Savanna Tree Species of Differing Leaf Life-Span. Photosynthetica,36(4):575-586.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 40 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Leaves of Eight Australian Savanna Tree Species of Differing Leaf Life-Span
Author Eamus, Derek
Myers, Bronwyn A.
Duff, Gordon A.
Williams, R.
Journal Name Photosynthetica
Publication Date 1999
Volume Number 36
Issue Number 4
ISSN 0300-3604   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0033400840
Start Page 575
End Page 586
Total Pages 12
Place of Publication Czech Republic
Publisher Akademie Ved Ceske Republiky * Ustav Experimentalni Botaniky,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Experimental Botany
Field of Research 270400 Botany
Abstract Cost-benefit analysis of foliar construction and maintenance costs and of carbon assimilation of leaves of differing life-span were conducted using two evergreen, three semi-deciduous, and three deciduous tree species of savannas of north Australia. Rates of radiant-energy-saturated CO2 assimilation (Pmax) and dark respiration were measured and leaves were analysed for total nitrogen, fat, and ash concentrations, and for heat of combustion. Specific leaf area, and leaf N and ash contents were significantly lower in longer-lived leaves (evergreen) than shorter-lived leaves (deciduous) species. Leaves of evergreen species also had significantly higher heat of combustion and lower crude fat content than leaves of deciduous species. On a leaf area basis, Pmax was highest in leaves of evergreen species, but on a leaf dry mass basis it was highest in leaves of deciduous species. Pmax and total Kieldahl N content were linearly correlated across all eight species, and foliar N content was higher in leaves of deciduous than evergreen species. Leaf construction cost was significantly higher and maintenance costs were lower for leaves of evergreen than deciduous species. Maintenance and construction costs were linearly related to each other across all species. Leaves of evergreen species had a higher cost-benefit ratio compared to leaves of deciduous species but with longer lived leaves, the payback interval was longer in evergreen than deciduous species. These results support the hypotheses that longer lived leaves are more expensive to construct than short-lived leaves, and that a higher investment of N into short-lived leaves occurs which supports a higher Pmax over a shorter payback interval.
Keywords Ash
Deciduous and evergreen trees
Heat of combustion
Maintenance and construction costs
Nitrogen content
Photosynthetic rate
Specific leaf area
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Created: Fri, 29 Aug 2014, 19:54:14 CST by Anthony Hornby