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Disturbance regimeAuthor(s): F.N. Scatena; J.F. Blanco; K.H. Beard; R.B. Waide; A.E. Lugo; N. Brokaw; W.L. Silver; B.L. Haines; J.K. Zimmerman
Source: N. Brokaw, T. A. Crowl, A.E. Lugo, W.H. McDowell, F.N. Scatena, R.B. Waide, and M.R. Willig, editors. A Caribbean forest tapestry: the multidimensional nature of disturbance and response. New York: Oxford University Press.
Publication Series: Book Chapter
Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
PDF: Download Publication (935.0 KB)
DescriptionThe Luquillo Mountains are affected by a wide array of environmental processes and distnrbances. Events that concurrently alter the environmental space of several different areas of the Luquillo Mountains occur every 2 to 5 years. Events such as hurricanes that cause widespread environmental modification occur once every 20 to 60 years. The most common disturbance-generating weather systems that affect the Luquillo Mountains are (1) cyclonic systems, (2) noncyclonic intertropical systems, (3) extratropical frontal systems, and ( 4) large-scale coupled oceanatmospheric events (e.g., North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino-Southern Oscillation). Unlike some tropical forests, distnrbances associated with the passage of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone or monsoonal rains do not occur. Hurricanes are considered the most important natural disturbance affecting the structure of forests'in the Luquillo Mountains. Compared to other humid tropical forests, Luquillo has a high rate of canopy tnrnover caused by hurricanes but a relatively low rate caused by tree-fall gaps. Historically, pathogenic disturbances have not been common. Human-induced disturbances have historically included tree harvesting for timber and charcoal, agriculture, and agroforestry. In the past few decades, water diversions, fishing and hunting, and road building have been important disturbances. Present and future human-induced disturbances are related to regional land use change, the disruption of migratory corridors, and forest drying related to coastal plain deforestation and regional climate change.
CitationScatena, F.N.; Blanco, J.F.; Beard, K.H.; Waide, R.B.; Lugo, A.E.; Brokaw, N.; Silver, W.L.; Haines, B.L.; Zimmerman, J.K. 2012. Disturbance regime. Pages 164-200 in: N. Brokaw, T. A. Crowl, A.E. Lugo, W.H. McDowell, F.N. Scatena, R.B. Waide, and M.R. Willig, editors. A Caribbean forest tapestry: the multidimensional nature of disturbance and response. New York: Oxford University Press.
Keywordshurricanes, disturbance, anthropogenic disturbance, water, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico
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