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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X


SOUZA, João Paulo; ALBINO, Ana Lúcia S.  and  PRADO, Carlos Henrique B. A.. Evidence of the effects of fire on branching and leaf development in cerrado trees. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.4, pp.677-685. ISSN 0102-3306.

We discuss evidence of effects of an accidental fire on shoot growth and leaf development in six cerrado tree species with distinct leaf phenologies. Buds of all six species were marked before shoot and leaf emergence in the dry season. After fire, leaf and shoot growth were monitored weekly and specific leaf area (SLA) was determined. Shoot order was determined in the growing season. Evergreens and semideciduous woody species had rapid leaf and shoot growth and decreased leaf life span (LLS) after fire compared with published data for evergreens in cerrado areas without fire. On the other hand, Kielmeyera variabilis, a deciduous species, showed intense branching and produced two orders of shoots in one growing season. Fires promote rapid leaf and shoot growth in evergreens owing to reserve accumulations that allow survivorship after disturbances. However, the leaves produced by evergreens after fire had high SLAs and were discarded before the next rainy season (short LLS). This leaf cohort was produced with less carbon per leaf, and the decreased LLS prevented herbivory and water loss during the dry season. Fire is an important factor of cerrado environments, influencing leaf production and shoot architecture in cerrado trees.

Keywords : disturbance; leaf life span; shoot growth; specific leaf area; shoot order.

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