Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Nicholas R. Vaughn; Gregory P. Asner; Christian P. Giardina
    Date: 2015
    Source: Ecosphere. 6(12): art271
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)

    Description

    Fragmentation alters forest canopy structure through various mechanisms, which in turn drive subsequent changes to biogeochemical processes and biological diversity. Using repeated airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) mappings, we investigated the size distribution and dynamics of forest canopy gaps across a topical montane forest landscape in Hawaii naturally fragmented by lava >100 yr ago. The combined effects of long-term isolation were evaluated using edge-proximity patterns in the distribution of gaps identified in year 1 ("existing gaps"). In addition, using the data from year 2, we investigated patterns in the loss of canopy ("new gaps") and regrowth of canopy ("filled gaps"). The size distributions of the three gap types were modelled using the power-law exponent, λ. We found that fragmentation has resulted in some large changes in gap dynamics, with both the total area of gaps and the relative proportion of large existing gaps increased with distance to fragment edge. In models of power-law distribution scaling, λ estimates decreased to asymptotic values within 20 m of fragment edges for existing gaps. The size distributions of new and filled gaps were surprisingly similar. However, the total area of filled gaps was less than that of new gaps, and this difference was greatest near fragment edges. From these results, we conclude that fragmentation may be capable of continuously altering gap-phase dynamics of a forest for more than a century.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to psw_communications@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Vaughn, Nicholas R.; Asner, Gregory P.; Giardina, Christian P. 2015. Long-term fragmentation effects on the distribution and dynamics of canopy gaps in a tropical montane forest. Ecosphere. 6(12): art271.

    Cited

    Google Scholar

    Keywords

    Carnegie Airborne Observatory, edge effects, forest degradation, gap-phase dynamics, Hawaii, power-law distribution

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/52708