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Title: Impact of Hurricane Iniki on native Hawaiian Acacia koa forests: damage and two-year recovery

Author: Harrington, Robin A.; Fownes, James H.; Scowcroft, Paul G.; Vann, Cheryl S.;

Date: 1997

Source: Journal of Tropical Ecology 13(4): 539-558

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Damage to Hawaiian Acacia koa forest by Hurricane Iniki was assessed by comparison with our previous measures of stand structure and leaf area index (LAI) at sites along a precipitation/elevation gradient on western Kauai. Reductions in LAI ranged from 29 to 80% and were correlated with pre-hurricane LAI and canopy height. The canopy damage resulted in a large pulse of litter, ranging from 4 to 19 t ha-l across our study sites. In the first year post-hurricane, LAI recovery and relative increase in stand basal area were negatively correlated with the fraction of canopy LAI lost. The two major overstorey species, A. koa and Aletrosiderous polymorpha, were damaged less than the sub-canopy species, Dodonaea viscosa and Psidillln guajava. Although D. viscosa and P. guajava were both severely damaged in the hurricane, the alien species P. guajava had much higher survival than the native D. viscosa, both as adults and as seedlings. However, seedling density of P. guajava was limited by low recruitment. At these sites, there was no drastic change in species composition following hurricane disturbance, and forest structure and productivity had recovered to a great degree within 2 y.

Keywords: Acacia koa, alien species, canopy, defoliation, Dodonaea uiscosa, leaf area index, litterfall, Metrosideros polymorpha, Psidium guajava, seedling recruitment

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Harrington, Robin A.; Fownes, James H.; Scowcroft, Paul G.; Vann, Cheryl S. 1997. Impact of Hurricane Iniki on native Hawaiian Acacia koa forests: damage and two-year recovery. Journal of Tropical Ecology 13(4): 539-558

 


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