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Title: Efectos del huracán Georges en el crecimiento de árboles en un bosque secundario en el interior de Puerto Rico

Author: Lugo, A.E.; Domínguez Cristóbal, C.; Méndez Irizarry, N.;

Date: 2005

Source: Acta Cientifica. 19(1-3):23-40.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: From 1995 to 2003 we measured growth in basal area and height of all trees with a diameter at breast heigh (1.3m) of ≥ 2 and < 4cm (understory trees) and ≥ 4cm (canopy trees) in a secondary forest located in Utuado’s coffee zone. The forest is in the subtropical wet life zone transitioning to humid in the Jácana sector of Caguana Ward. During September 21-22, 1998, hurricane Georges passed through the stand with maximum sustained winds of 184 km/h and gusts of 240 km/h. Growth rates were analyzed during three stages: before the hurricane, immediately after the hurricane, and four years after the hurricane. In addition, growth rates per species and individual trees were compared. The database consisted of 374 and 524 growth determinations for canopy and understory trees, respectively. This includes 91 and 162; 133 and 224; and 150 and 138 growth determinations for canopy and understory trees before, immediately after, and four years after the hurricane, respectively. The trees in the canopy grew in basal area and height ten times faster than those in the understory. Growth rates for trees in the canopy were greater than those observed in mature forests and other secondary forests, but similar to those observed in tree plantations. Cecropia peltata (synonymous with Cecropia schreberiana) and Didymopanax morototoni (synonymous with Schefflera morototoni) were the species that exhibited the fastest growth. The hurricane caused an increase in variability in growth rates and differentially impacted canopy trees vs. understory trees. Canopy trees increased growth rates in basal area and decreased growth rates in height immediately after the hurricane. In the understory, growth rates in basal area did not immediately change after the hurricane but growth rates in height were significantly reduced. Four years later, understory trees exhibited reduced growth rates in basal area and increased, although not at pre-hurricane levels, growth levels in height. Canopy trees had returned to pre-hurricane growth rates four years after the event. The results reflect that, there is a resilience pulse in canopy trees, immediately after the hurricane and corroborates high growth rates in these secondary forests.

Keywords: disturbance, hurricane, Puerto Rico

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Lugo, A.E.; Domínguez Cristóbal, C.; Méndez Irizarry, N. 2005. Efectos del huracán Georges en el crecimiento de árboles en un bosque secundario en el interior de Puerto Rico. Acta Cientifica. 19(1-3):23-40.

 


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