Title: Non-arborescent vegetation trajectories following repeated hurricane disturbance: ephemeral versus enduring responses
Author: Royo, Alejandro A.; Heartsill Scalley, Tamara; Moya, Samuel; Scatena, Fred N.
Source: Ecosphere. 2(7): art 77. doi: 10.1890/ES11-0018.1
Publication Series: Journal/Magazine Article (JRNL)
Description: Hurricanes strongly influence short-term patterns of plant community structure, composition, and abundance and are a major contributor to the maintenance of plant diversity in many forests. Although much research has focused on the immediate and long-term effects of hurricane disturbance on tree diversity, far less attention has been devoted to the non-arborescent understory community that often account for the vast majority of the vascular species. Using a unique 20 year dataset, we tracked changes in richness, cover, biomass, and diversity (H') of non-arborescent species following Hurricane Hugo (1989) and Hurricane Georges (1998) in a mature secondary subtropical wet forest of Puerto Rico. Hurricanes caused an immediate, albeit transient, increase in overall species richness, cover, and diversity. Over a twenty year period, the non-arborescent community exhibited pronounced and persistent changes in composition, including a dramatic increase in abundance and richness of ferns and vines and a concomitant decrease in forbs and shrubs. By 2010, understory composition and relative abundance hierarchies were significantly altered; ferns and vines combined comprised 75 and 90% of total understory cover and biomass, respectively. Our results for this community contrast sharply with prior studies on similar temporal and spatial scales that demonstrate hurricanes rarely alter dominant tree species composition over the long-term. These results suggest that the role of hurricane disturbance in structuring plant diversity may be even more important than previously thought.
Keywords: Bisley Experimental Watersheds, ferns, hurricane disturbance, Luquillo, understory, vines
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
- This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
XML: View XML
Royo, Alejandro A.; Heartsill Scalley, Tamara; Moya, Samuel; Scatena, Fred N. 2011. Non-arborescent vegetation trajectories following repeated hurricane disturbance: ephemeral versus enduring responses. Ecosphere. 2(7): art 77. doi: 10.1890/ES11-0018.1
Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility