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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2014, Article ID 923027, 15 pages
Research Article

Semideciduous Seasonal Forest Production of Leaves and Deciduousness in Function of the Water Balance, LAI, and NDVI

1Embrapa Milho e Sorgo, Road MG 424, km 45, 35701-970 Sete Lagoas, MG, Brazil
2Universidade Federal de São João Del Rei, Campus Sete Lagoas, Road MG 424, km 47, 35701-970 Sete Lagoas, MG, Brazil

Received 28 August 2013; Revised 19 December 2013; Accepted 4 February 2014; Published 31 March 2014

Academic Editor: Panos V. Petrakis

Copyright © 2014 Thomaz Correa e Castro da Costa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study investigated the relationship between leaf production, litterfall, water balance, Leaf Area Index (LAI), and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in semideciduous forests. The goal was to model this phenomenon to obtain the estimates of this component as an additional compartment of the ecosystem carbon sink. The tests were conducted in eight semideciduous forest fragments. Twenty-four permanent plots were monitored monthly and LAI measurements and weighing of litterfall deposited in nets were conducted for a period of thirteen months. In this period, Landsat 5 and IRS satellite images were obtained and processed for generation of NDVI. The water balance was calculated for each day. The relationship among the variables “leaf dry weight,” “LAI,” “NDVI,” and “water balance” was verified and a regression model was built and evaluated. The deciduous phenomenon can be explained by hydric balance, and LAI and NDVI are ancillary variables. The tendency of the variables in the period of 13 months was explained by quadratic functions. The varied behavior among the monitoring sites helped to know differences in the deposition of leaves. This study showed that only the leaf component of the litterfall of a semideciduous forest in tropical climate can capture 4 to 8 Mgha−1yr−1 of CO2 and this amount can be estimated using climate, biophysics, and vegetation index variables.