Publication Details

Title: Deadwood, soil biota and nutrient dynamics in tropical forests: a review of case studies from Puerto Rico

Author(s): Gonzalez, Grizelle. [External Site: Opens in New Window]

Year: 2017

Source: Proceedings of the One Hundred Twelfth Annual Meeting of the American Wood Protection Association. Vol. 112:206-208

Abstract: Wood is the main constituent of tropical forests (Zalamea-Bustillo, 2005). Woody debris provides habitat for animals and germinating plants, as well as contributing to soil moisture regulation and nutrient cycling (Figure 1, Harmon et al. 1986, Stevens 1997 and references therein). Dead wood is a temporary sink for atmospheric carbon, a source of soil organic matter, and a substrate for nitrogen fixation (Harmon and Hua 1991, Torres 1994, Creed et al. 2004). Yet the exact contribution of woody debris to global carbon storage is still unknown (Harmon et al. 1986). Most surveys of amounts and properties of woody debris have been performed within temperate systems as well as the mainland tropics where these collections are often limited to a few forest types encompassing large land areas (Delaney et al. 1998, Nascimento and Laurance 2002). Temperate, tropical, and island ecosystems vary in climate, species composition, decomposer community structure and rates of biomass production, resulting in variable amounts of carbon stored in persistent downed woody debris (González and Luce 2013). Detailed studies within a variety of tropical forest types are important for better understanding of the complexity and uncertainty associated to global carbon pools; particularly, given the importance of both natural and anthropogenic disturbances on the long term consequences in the functioning of these forested ecosystems (González and Luce 2013).

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