An outgrowth from a node on a plant's stem and come in many shapes and sizes, they are often green and flattened to maximise their surface area for the capture of energy from sunlight and exchange gases that are used for photosynthesis by means of the chlorophyll pigment contained in chloroplasts. http://www.cactus-art.biz/note-book/Dictionary/Dictionary_L/dictionary_leaf.htm

Tree species mixtures influencing forest structure and phenology

In forest ecosystems trees are the dominant element of the vertical and horizontal structure of these ecosystems and they interact to fill the 3-dimensional space from the canopy to the forest floor. A hypothesis that we are testing, is that forests with more species (a greater combination of structural traits) interact to form complex environments and are acting to use the space more efficiently. By doing so, the trees would also maximize their light interception and as a result, fill the space with more biomass. If this is true, it would help to explain why species rich forests are more...
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