The biodiversity crisis: a multifaceted review

Singh, J. S. (2002) The biodiversity crisis: a multifaceted review Current Science, 82 (6). pp. 638-647. ISSN 0011-3891

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We examined 90 dry tropical tree species growing on contrasting soil types (relatively infertile Ultisol and more fertile Inceptisol) for leaf traits such as leaf habit, specific leaf mass((SLM, leaf dry mass per leaf area), leaf chemistry (nutrient concentrations and C/N ratios), and nutrient resorption. Across the species, SLM ranged from 4.06 to 15.74−2 in mature leaves and from 2.60 to 15.12−2 in senesced leaves. Mature leaf N and P concentrations varied from 0.86% to 4.11% and 0.13% to 0.21%, respectively. Senesced leaf N concentrations varied from 0.49% to 1.90% and P from 0.04% to 0.47%. Resorption efficiencies varied from 26% to 83% (mean = 58.32% ± 1.20%) for N and from 16% to 80% (mean = 49.57% ±1.48%) for P indicating that the woody species of dry tropical environments resorbed different nutrients in substantial amounts to support new growth. Deciduous species had greater resorbed nutrient pools and resorption efficiencies than evergreen species. Compared with the nutrient-rich environment, species from the nutrient-poor environment had a lower resorbed P pool and lower resorption efficiencies for N and P, but had similar N and P concentrations in mature leaves. Resorption efficiencies for C, N, and P were generally correlated, suggesting that the resorbed C pool acted as a vehicle for mobilizing nutrients, especially N. Species with a low or high C/N ratio in senesced leaf and a low or high N resorption efficiency occurred in both nutrient-poor and nutrient-rich environments, as well as among deciduous and evergreen leaf habits, indicating individualistic adaptations to optimize the efficiency of nutrient resource use and conservation of the dry tropical woody vegetation.

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