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Title: Structure and species composition of novel forests dominated by an introduced species in northcentral Puerto Rico

Author: Abelleira Martinez, Oscar J.; Rodríguez, Mariela A.; Rosario, Ivonne; Soto, Nataly; López, Armando; Lugo, Ariel E.;

Date: 2010

Source: New Forests. 39: 1-18.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The African tulip tree, Spathodea campanulata Beauv., is an introduced species forming novel forest types in Puerto Rico. These forests develop naturally after deforestation, agricultural use and land abandonment, and there are many questions as to their ecological characteristics. We sampled structure and species composition of large, small, and juvenile trees (C10, C2.5 to \10, and \2.5 cm diameter at breast height, respectively) in nine secondary forests dominated by S. campanulata on alluvial, karst, and volcanic substrates in northcentral Puerto Rico. No differences were found in S. campanulata forest structure between substrates. Of a total of 79 species found, 17 were introduced. Forests on karst and alluvium had the highest and lowest global species richness, respectively. Species richness increased from large to small to juvenile trees in most sites, but more so on karst. The percentage of introduced species was inversely related to species richness of tree size classes on all substrate types. The dominance of S. campanulata in the large tree size class was highest and lowest in alluvial and volcanic sites, respectively, and decreased from large to small to juvenile trees on all substrate types. Species richness of S. campanulata forests is lower than that of native forests on equivalent substrates. Although land use history affects composition, the juvenile tree species established in S. campanulata forests seems to correspond to the geological substrate were sites are found. This study shows S. campanulata restores forest structure and native tree species on abandoned agriculture and grazing lands in Puerto Rico. Management of these novel forests should consider them as resources were natural processes have the potential of making them more diverse.

Keywords: Introduced species, Forest structure, Land cover change, Novel tropical secondary forests, Puerto Rico

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Abelleira Martinez, Oscar J.; Rodríguez, Mariela A.; Rosario, Ivonne; Soto, Nataly; López, Armando; Lugo, Ariel E. 2010. Structure and species composition of novel forests dominated by an introduced species in northcentral Puerto Rico. New Forests. 39: 1-18.

 


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