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Forests 2018, 9(7), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070404

The Frequency of Cyclonic Wind Storms Shapes Tropical Forest Dynamism and Functional Trait Dispersion

1
Department of Biological Sciences, International Center for Tropical Botany, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33175, USA
2
Department of Environmental Science, University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, San Juan, PR 00936, USA
3
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QB, UK
4
Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
5
Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
6
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
7
Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL 60532, USA
8
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
9
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
10
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien 97401, Taiwan
11
Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Taipei 10066, Taiwan
12
Institute of Biology, College of Sciences, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
13
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun 666303, Yunnan, China
14
Institute of Arts and Sciences, Far Eastern University, Manila 1008, Philippines
15
Center for Tropical Forest Science—Forest Global Earth Observatory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, DC 20560, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 May 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Responses to Large-Scale Wind Disturbance)
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Abstract

As cyclonic wind storms (hurricanes and typhoons) increase in frequency and intensity with climate change, it is important to understand their effects on the populations and communities of tropical trees they impact. Using tree demographic data from four large, tropical forest dynamics plots that differ in cyclonic storm frequency, we compare tree population and community dynamics. Additionally, we assess the effect of cyclonic storms on three functional traits, specific leaf area, wood density, and tree height of the dynamic tree assemblages. Mortality, growth and recruitment rates and the intrinsic rates of population growth of species differed across the plots, and were most dynamic, especially for stems 1–2 cm in diameter, at the plot which had an intermediate level of cyclonic storm frequency. Functional assemblages of species had the greatest degree of temporal variation in relation to disturbance, as measured by the change in functional divergence for the two plots with more intermediate cyclonic storm recurrence. Therefore, cyclonic storms affecting these plots generally have a greater effect on forest composition and dynamism than comparable cyclonic storms do on the plot which experiences cyclonic storms more frequently. Thus, we provide some evidence that community-wide demographic resistance to cyclonic storms is generally lower at an intermediate frequency of storms. While cyclonic storm strength and timing are important determinants of the within forest variation in tree dynamics and functional trait assemblages, we also show that cyclonic storm timing and frequency shapes tropical forest dynamics and functional composition across forests. We conclude that, over a given time interval, sites with intermediate levels of damaging cyclonic wind disturbance express a greater potential for life-history variation in the forest community, when compared to sites with less or more frequent disturbance. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyclonic wind disturbance; hurricanes; typhoons; forest resistance; forest demography; tree mortality; tree growth; functional traits; Luquillo; Fushan; Palanan; Barro Colorado Island cyclonic wind disturbance; hurricanes; typhoons; forest resistance; forest demography; tree mortality; tree growth; functional traits; Luquillo; Fushan; Palanan; Barro Colorado Island
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Hogan, J.A.; Zimmerman, J.K.; Thompson, J.; Uriarte, M.; Swenson, N.G.; Condit, R.; Hubbell, S.; Johnson, D.J.; Sun, I.F.; Chang-Yang, C.-H.; Su, S.-H.; Ong, P.; Rodriguez, L.; Monoy, C.C.; Yap, S.; Davies, S.J. The Frequency of Cyclonic Wind Storms Shapes Tropical Forest Dynamism and Functional Trait Dispersion. Forests 2018, 9, 404.

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