Tree phenology in adjacent Amazonian flooded and unflooded forests

Torbjørn Haugaasen, Carlos A. Peres

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92 Citations (Scopus)


Most phenological studies to date have taken place in upland forest above the maximum flood level of nearby streams and rivers. In this paper, we examine the phenological patterns of tree assemblages in a large Amazonian forest landscape, including both upland (terra firme) and seasonally flooded (várzea and igapó) forest. The abundance of vegetative and reproductive phenophases was very seasonal in all forests types. Both types of flooded forest were more deciduous than terra firme, shedding most of their leaves during the inundation period. Pulses of new leaves occurred mainly during the dry season in terra firme, whereas those in the two floodplain forests were largely restricted to the end of the inundation period. Flowering was concentrated in the dry season in all forest types and was strongly correlated with the decrease in rainfall. The two floodplain forests concentrated their fruiting peaks during the inundation period, whereas trees in terra firme tended to bear fruits at the onset of the wet season. The results suggest that the phenological patterns of all forest types are largely predictable and that the regular and prolonged seasonal flood pulse is a major determinant of phenological patterns in várzea and igapó, whereas rainfall and solar irradiance appear to be important in terra firme. The three forest types provide a mosaic of food resources that has important implications for the conservation and maintenance of wide-ranging frugivore populations in Amazonian forests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-630
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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