Journal of Tropical Ecology

Research Article

Canopy dynamics and light climates in a tropical moist deciduous forest in India

David W. Leea1

a1 Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA.


The canopy dynamics and light climates within a 20 by 60 m quadrat were studied in a disturbed moist deciduous forest near Bombay, India. A map was drawn of individual trees within the quadrat, the taxa were identified, and their phenology was followed from November 1984 to July 1985. The quadrat contained 14 species, the most common being Tectona grandis, Terminalia tomentosa, Butea monosperma, Mitragyne parviflora and Albizia procera. Some individuals were in leaf at all times, more so at the moister east end of the quadrat. In November at the end of the rainy season, light measurements documented percentages of total daily photosynthetic photon fluence (PPF) at 10.0% of full sunlight; 44% of this flux was due to sun-flecks whose duration was approximately 17% of the daytime hours. Values for six sites were similar to mid-day measurements along a 40 m transect, and consistent with the 94% canopy cover of the sites, photographed with a fish-eye lens. The March dry season measurements revealed a more intense radiation environment (54% of solar PPF), and 59% of the photosynthetic photon flux density at mid-day along the transect. Canopy openings were increased to a mean of 59.4%. Light in the understorey in November was spectrally altered, with typical R:FR ratios of 0.30, compared to March values identical to those of sunlight, at 1.10.

(Accepted June 02 1988)