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    We now live in a world dominated by humans (the Anthropocene), whose activities on Earth are resulting in new habitats and new environmental conditions, including climate change. To many, the Anthropocene is an era of environmental doom that unless reversed, will result in catastrophic reductions in biodiversity. An alternate view is that the biota will adjust to the new environmental conditions and through processes of species mixing and self-organization will form sustainable novel communities of organisms. Using examples from Puerto Rico, I discuss the conditions that lead to novel forest formation and the characteristics of these forests, including their species composition. Novel forests include native tree and animal species as well as significant numbers of introduced and naturalized species. These introduced species dominate forest stands, and their dominance is not incompatible with the regeneration of native species. I propose that these types of ecosystems might represent the natural response of the biota to the Anthropocene.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Lugo, A.E. 2013. Novel tropical forests: nature's response to global change. Tropical Conservation Science. 6(3): 325-337.


    Puerto Rico, introduced species, tropical succession, Anthropocene, Homogeocene

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