In seasonal and aseasonal tropical forests, leaf production is often highly synchronous, concentrating herbivore resources in only a few months. As a result levels of herbivory on young leaves can vary throughout the year. To determine the importance of food availability on herbivory, leaf phenology and leaf damage were studied in an aseasonal forest, Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) in Puerto Rico. Leaf production was associated with an increase in light availability but leaf damage was relatively constant throughout the year. Leaf phenology and leaf damage was compared between LEF and a seasonal forest, Barro Colorado Island (BCI) Panamá. In BCI leaf production was associated with increases in water availability and leaf damage was significantly higher on leaves produced after the peak in leaf production. Leaf damage was significantly lower in LEF in comparison with BCI. Differences in the trophic structure between the two forests may explain the differences in levels of leaf damage. The density of frogs and lizards in LEF was approximately an order of magnitude greater than in BCI and these predators may limit the populations of herbivores and reduce leaf damage levels.
Additional Project roles:
|Variables Descriptions||Data File||Date Range|
|Herbivory Nov 1995 to Oct 1996 on several paths along and across the LFDP||hbv9596.csv||1994-11-01 to 1996-09-01|
|Herbivory Nov 1994 to Oct 1995 on several paths along and across the LFDP||hbv9495.csv||1994-11-01 to 1996-10-01|