iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Effect of environmental gradients on leaf morphological traits in the Fandoghlo forest region (NW Iran)

Roghayeh Jahdi (1)   , Mahdi Arabi (2), Filippo Bussotti (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 6, Pages 523-530 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3391-013
Published: Nov 13, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Research Articles

The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of altitude, the position of the trees along a gradient of canopy cover, and the orientation of their crown on leaf traits of 18 deciduous woody species belonging to 10 families in the Fandoglo forest region in Ardabil, North West of Iran. We measured eight leaf traits (leaf width, length, area, thickness, water content, leaf mass per area, specific leaf area, and dry matter concentration) of trees sampled at sites subjected to different light regimes (forest edge, forest understory, and isolated trees). All traits were measured on more than 3600 leaves from 90 trees sampled in two altitudinal ranges (low: 1300-1500 m a.s.l.; high: 1500-1700 m a.s.l.). A two-way ANOVA and t-test for independent samples were applied to test for differences in leaf traits between different altitudes and degree of canopy cover. The results confirmed that species’ leaf traits were more strongly correlated with the altitude and canopy cover rather than the orientation of the crown. No relationship between leaf traits and crown orientation was detected. All leaf traits had significantly higher values at low than at high elevation, indicating that environmental factors such as atmospheric CO2 concentration, temperature, light, irradiance, and wind deeply impact on foliar morphology and function; however, water content and specific leaf area showed an opposite trend. Also, species with different positions along the gradient of canopy cover could have different responses to elevation. Our results indicate that the variation of functional (morphological and physiological) traits in different tree species are affected by altitude and light regime. This might provide a theoretical basis for afforestation and forest management activities in the Fandoghlo forest region.


Leaf Morphological Traits, Fandoglo Forest Region, Altitude, Tree Position, Crown Orientation

Authors’ address

Roghayeh Jahdi
Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil (Iran)
Mahdi Arabi 0000-0002-7453-2443
Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran (Iran)
Filippo Bussotti 0000-0002-8353-4459
University of Florence, Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), Firenze (Italy)

Corresponding author

Roghayeh Jahdi


Jahdi R, Arabi M, Bussotti F (2020). Effect of environmental gradients on leaf morphological traits in the Fandoghlo forest region (NW Iran). iForest 13: 523-530. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3391-013

Academic Editor

Claudia Cocozza

Paper history

Received: Mar 02, 2020
Accepted: Sep 14, 2020

First online: Nov 13, 2020
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2020
Publication Time: 2.00 months

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