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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


REPETTO-GIAVELLI, FIORELLA; CAVIERES, LOHENGRIN A.  and  SIMONETTI. Leaf responses of Aristotelia chilensis (Molina) Stuntz (Elaeocarpaceae) to the fragmentation of the Maulino forest. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2007, vol.80, n.4, pp.469-477. ISSN 0716-078X.

Fragmentation of the Maulino forest implies significant habitat loss, as well as the modification of the microclimatic conditions of the remaining forest patches. Fragments are drier, hotter and receive more light than the continuous forest. These changes might induce morphological, chemical and physiological responses on individuals inhabiting forest patches. This study aims to identify morpho and physiological changes in Aristotelia chilensis, an evergreen tree that grows both in forest fragments and continuous forest. Leaves were 1.2 times smaller in forest fragments than in the continuous forest. Similar reduction was observed on specific leaf area (SLA). In forest fragments, the thickness of epidermis and of the spongy mesophyll was more than 1.3  times larger than that on the continuous forest, whereas the thickness of the palisade mesophyll did not differ. The amount of foliar nitrogen was 1.2 times larger in the continuous forest than in fragments, whereas the carbon content did not differ. Stomatal conductance in the continuous forest was 1.5 fold higher than that in forest fragments. Changes depicted by A. chilensis allows it to survive in environments of low luminosity as the continuous forest, and in environments of low water content as the forest fragments, maintaining similar photosynthetic rates in both environments

Keywords : Chile; ecophysiology; fragmentation; foliar morphology.

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