Plants undergo developmental changes throughout their life history. Senescence, the final stage in the life history of a leaf, is an important and unique developmental process whereby plants relocate nutrients from leaves to other developing organs, such as seeds, stems, or roots. Recent attempts to answer fundamental questions about leaf senescence have employed a combination of new ideas and advanced technologies. As senescence is an integral part of a plant's life history that is linked to earlier developmental stages, age-associated leaf senescence may be analysed from a life history perspective. The successful utilization of multi-omics approaches has resolved the complicated process of leaf senescence, replacing a component-based view with a network-based molecular mechanism that acts in a spatial-temporal manner. Senescence and death are critical for fitness and are thus evolved characters. Recent efforts have begun to focus on understanding the evolutionary basis of the developmental process that incorporates age information and environmental signals into a plant's survival strategy. This review describes recent insights into the regulatory mechanisms of leaf senescence in terms of systems-level spatiotemporal changes, presenting them from the perspectives of life history strategy and evolution.