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Leaf phenology of tropical evergreen forests affects carbon and water fluxes. In an earlier study of a seasonally moist evergreen tropical forest site in the Amazon basin, time series data of Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) from the VEGETATION and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors showed an unexpected seasonal pattern, with higher EVI in the late dry season than in the wet season. In this study we conducted a regionat-scale analysis of tropical evergreen forests in South America, using time series data of EVI from MODIS in 2002. The results show a large dynamic range and spatial variations of annual maximum EVI for evergreen forest canopies in the region. In tropical evergreen forests, maximum EVI in 2002 typically occurs during the late dry season to early wet season. This suggests that leaf phenology in tropical evergreen forests is not determined by the seasonality of precipitation. Instead, leaf phenological process may be driven by availability of solar radiation and/or avoidance of herbivory. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

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