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Title: Research in the Luquillo Experimental Forest has advanced understanding of tropical forests and resolved management issues

Author: Lugo, A.E.; Heartsill Scalley, T.;

Date: 2014


Publication Series: Book Chapter

Description: Long-term research on the response of wet forests in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) to natural and anthropogenic disturbances yielded information useful for the management of these forests and to a better understanding of the functioning of tropical forests and how species composition changes under different distrubance regimes. We summarize studies on basal area removal, response to ionizing radiation, and the effects of hurricanes and landslides on forested watersheds. We also review studies on forested stream biota following hurricane, drought, and flooding events. This chapter also evaluates reforestation of degraded lands and recovery of forests after abandonment of paved roads. All the studies combined cover the major land cover changes that take place throughout the tropics and which require attention to conserve tropical biodiversity. These changes range from limited extractions of resources from forests to deforestation and conversion to pastures. When tropical forests are converted to pastures, more intensive management actions are needed to restore lands, including planting of introduced species capable of growing on degraded lands. Results from the LEF have demonstrated the high resistance and resilience of tropical forests and the success of platings in the restoration of forest cover on degraded lands. In both streams and forests, species composition shifts from native to introduced species when anthropogenic disturbance regimes become prevalent over the natural disturbance regimes.

Keywords: Disturbance, management, recovery, resilience, succession, anthropogenic, species, streams, tropical

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Lugo, A.E.; Heartsill Scalley, T. 2014. Research in the Luquillo Experimental Forest has advanced understanding of tropical forests and resolved management issues. Chapter 19. Pages 435-461 in: D.C. Hayes, S.L. Stout, R.H. Crawford and A.P. Hoover (Editors), USDA Forest Service Experimental Forests and Ranges: Research for the Long Term. Springer, New York.


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