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Print version ISSN 0001-3765On-line version ISSN 1678-2690


SOUZA, MARCELO C. et al. The length of the dry season may be associated with leaf scleromorphism in cerrado plants. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2015, vol.87, n.3, pp.1691-1699.  Epub July 28, 2015. ISSN 0001-3765.

Despite limitations of low fertility and high acidity of the soils, the cerrado flora is the richest amongst savannas. Many cerrado woody species show sclerophyllous leaves, which might be related to the availability of water and nutrients in the soil. To better understand the function and structure of cerrado vegetation within its own variations, we compared two cerrado communities: one in its core region in central Brazil (Brasília, DF) and the other on its southern periphery (Itirapina, SP). We contrasted the length of the dry season, soil fertility rates, leaf concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg and the specific leaf area (SLA) between these communities. The dry season was shorter on the periphery, where the soil was more fertile although more acidic. Plants from the periphery showed higher SLA and higher leaf concentrations of N, P, Ca and Mg. We propose that the higher SLA of plants from the periphery is related to the shorter dry season, which allows better conditions for nutrient uptake.

Keywords : savanna; mineral nutrition; rainfall seasonality; specific leaf area.

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