Puerto Rico - United States

20th-Century hurricanes leave long-lasting legacies on tropical forest height and the abundance of a dominant wind-resistant palm

BACKGROUND:

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Patterns and controls on island-wide aboveground biomass accumulation in second-growth forests of Puerto Rico

Background

Secondary or second-growth forests after land abandonment are a valuable contribution to global carbon sinks. Approximately 70% of the world’s tropical forests are secondary growth, so understanding the carbon sequestration rates on a large scale is important. Sequestration rates are controlled by both abiotic and biotic factors in each region.

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Aboveground carbon responses to experimental and natural hurricane impacts in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico

Background

Carbon sequestration is a major climate mitigating process. Tropical forests in particular sequester high amounts of carbon, however disturbance events such as storms can alter the ability of forests to sequester more carbon. Hurricanes create forest gaps and increase ground debris which both provide resources that may promote plant recruitment and growth.

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Restoration of Degraded Tropical Forest Landscapes

BACKGROUND

Forest loss and degradation negatively affect rural communities whose livelihoods are dependent on forests for ecological goods and services. To address the challenge, three solutions have been proposed, expanding networks of protected areas, improving agricultural productivity on abandoned lands and reforestation. Of the three, new approaches to restoration have shown to have the potential to address forest degradation and rural poverty.

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Factors Affecting Mortality and Resistance to Damage Following Hurricanes in a Rehabilitated Subtropical Moist Forest

Background

This study was conducted in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), which was previously abandoned pastureland reforested through mixed planting and natural regeneration.

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Shade-grown coffee in Puerto Rico: Opportunities to preserve biodiversity while reinvigorating a struggling agricultural commodity

Background

Coffee has been a traditional crop in Puerto Rico since the mid-1700s. As the global market became more competitive in the 20th century, the Puerto Rican government provided subsidies and policies to protect the sector as well as promoted the transition to shade grown coffee for higher yields in the 1980s. The researchers surveyed 100 farms and 5 agronomists to determine attitudes about this transition.

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Using artificial canopy gaps to restore Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata) habitat in tropical timber plantations

Background

This study tests whether or not man-made canopy gaps can restore native tree diversity as food sources for the endagered Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata). The site is located within a non-native blue mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) plantation in the Río Abajo forest in central Puerto Rico, where the researchers planted native species in assisted natural regeneration. The gaps were created in 20m x 20m plots by girdling and applying herbicide on non-native trees and by clearing leaf litter and vegetation, creating space for planted and naturally established advance regeneration seedlings.

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Bird Perches Increase Forest Seeds on Puerto Rican Landslides

Background

Forest regeneration is typically difficult after landslides due to loss of above- and below-ground vegetative structure, the soil seed bank, soil nutrients, and soil structure. Landslides are a common occurrence in Puerto Rico due to its steep topography and heavy rainfall periods and often transform into grass- or fern-dominated terrain. Insufficient seed rain is thought to be one contributing factor.

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The role of species mixtures in plantation forestry

Background

Forest plantations are increasingly being established around the world, yet many are often monocultures. While the paper recognizes that all plantations are beneficial in terms of restoration, it specifically seeks to explore the advantages of mixed-species plantations. 

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Neotropical Secondary Forest Succession: Changes in Structural and Functional Characteristics

Background

This paper reiviews the main biotic and abiotic factors that influence patterns of secondary forest succession in the Neotropics after complete forest clearance due to human activities.

Research Goals & Methods

The authors look at patterns of species replacement and various processes that occur during succession and suggest that the sequence of processes may be predictable even if species composition is not.

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