Next Article in Journal
Short Rotations in Forest Plantations Accelerate Virulence Evolution in Root-Rot Pathogenic Fungi
Previous Article in Journal
Quantification of Phosphorus Exports from a Small Forested Headwater-Catchment in the Eastern Ore Mountains, Germany
Previous Article in Special Issue
How Cities Think: Knowledge Co-Production for Urban Sustainability and Resilience
Article Menu
Issue 6 (June) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessCommunication
Forests 2017, 8(6), 204; doi:10.3390/f8060204

Insights on Forest Structure and Composition from Long-Term Research in the Luquillo Mountains

USDA Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Jardín Botánico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, Río Piedras, PR 00926, USA
Academic Editors: Grizelle González and Ariel E. Lugo
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 5 June 2017 / Accepted: 5 June 2017 / Published: 10 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forest Ecology and Management for the Anthropocene)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [6513 KB, uploaded 13 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

The science of ecology fundamentally aims to understand species and their relation to the environment. At sites where hurricane disturbance is part of the environmental context, permanent forest plots are critical to understand ecological vegetation dynamics through time. An overview of forest structure and species composition from two of the longest continuously measured tropical forest plots is presented. Long-term measurements, 72 years at the leeward site, and 25 years at windward site, of stem density are similar to initial and pre-hurricane values at both sites. For 10 years post-hurricane Hugo (1989), stem density increased at both sites. Following that increase period, stem density has remained at 1400 to 1600 stems/ha in the leeward site, and at 1200 stems/ha in the windward site. The forests had similar basal area values before hurricane Hugo in 1989, but these sites are following different patterns of basal area accumulation. The leeward forest site continues to accumulate and increase basal area with each successive measurement, currently above 50 m2/ha. The windward forest site maintains its basal area values close to an asymptote of 35 m2/ha. Currently, the most abundant species at both sites is the sierra palm. Ordinations to explore variation in tree species composition through time present the leeward site with a trajectory of directional change, while at the windward site, the composition of species seems to be converging to pre-hurricane conditions. The observed differences in forest structure and composition from sites differently affected by hurricane disturbance provide insight into how particular forest characteristics respond at shorter or longer time scales in relation to previous site conditions and intensity of disturbance effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: disturbance; hurricane; succession; long-term; basal area; species composition; trees; tropical; Luquillo Experimental Forest disturbance; hurricane; succession; long-term; basal area; species composition; trees; tropical; Luquillo Experimental Forest
Figures

Figure 1

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. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Heartsill Scalley, T. Insights on Forest Structure and Composition from Long-Term Research in the Luquillo Mountains. Forests 2017, 8, 204.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Forests EISSN 1999-4907 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top