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Title: Forest structure and composition in the lower montane rain forest of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico

Author: Weaver, Peter L.;

Date: 2010

Source: Interciencia. 35(9): 640-646

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Six groups of three plots stratified by aspect and topography and varying in elevation were used to sample forest structure and tree species composition within the lower montane rain forest (tabonuco forest) of the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) in Puerto Rico. Stem density, tree height, and total above ground biomass varied by site. Significant differences in canopy height were evident between leeward and windward sites, and declined from ridge to slope to ravine for all sites combined. Total aboveground biomass was significantly greater on ridges than in ravines. Prestoea montana (R. Grah.) Nichols and Dacryodes excelsa Vahl accounted for 31% of the 1394 stems and 69 species that were tallied. Correspondence analysis showed that species’ abundances for 37 species with ≥6 occurrences (94 percent of all stems) varied by aspect and topographic features, and that windward plots contained some species associated with wetter sites at higher elevation. Hurricanes impact the LEF with sufficient frequency to maintain its forests in a continuous stage of recovery. Forest composition at any site is a function of environmental gradients, major climatic events, and tree species attributes.

Keywords: Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico, Prestoea montana, Dacryodes excelsa, elevation, hurricanes, forest composition

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Weaver, Peter L. 2010. Forest structure and composition in the lower montane rain forest of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico. Interciencia. 35(9): 640-646.


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