Water stress and tree phenology in a tropical dry forest in the lowlands of Costa Rica.

P. B. Reich, R. Borchert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

350 Scopus citations


At dry sites, trees experienced water stress and shed their leaves early in the dry season. In most species, rehydration, followed by bud break, took place only after heavy rainfalls. In some species, leaf shedding was followed by rehydration and bud break during continuing drought. During shoot extension, which rarely lasted longer than a few weeks, trees experienced water stress in spite of growing in wet soils. At wet sites, trees experienced little or no apparent water stress; they remained evergreen or rapidly exchanged leaves during the dry season. In general, the timing of leaf fall and bud break and, in many species, anthesis was determined to a large extent by changes in tree water status. These phenomena, in turn, were a function of the interaction between the water status of the environment and the structural and functional state of the tree. At times the functional state of the tree would counteract the environmental influences; trees with growing shoots experienced temporary water deficits during the wet season, and bare trees rehydrated during drought. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984


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