Factors Affecting Mortality and Resistance to Damage Following Hurricanes in a Rehabilitated Subtropical Moist Forest
This study was conducted in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), which was previously abandoned pastureland reforested through mixed planting and natural regeneration.
Goal & Methods
The study's goal was to measure the resistance and resiliency of individual trees and communities to hurricane damage by comparing the impacts of Hurricane Hugo (1989) and Hurricane Georges (1998) on the LEF. They measured this through a damage index (i.e: uprooted, snapped, and canopy damage) and resistance and resiliency indices, finding high species variation, depending also upon topography, tree size, and tree canopy.
Conclusions & Takeaways
Ostertag et al. found that resistance and resiliency depend upon land use history, species characteristics, and the frequency and intensity of storms not as discrete disturbance events but over time. They conclude that hurricanes select for the species that are most resilient and slow growing, consequently creating forests with smaller diameters and shorter canopies in protected topographies that will better withstand high winds.
Factors Affecting Mortality and Resistance to Damage Following Hurricanes in a Rehabilitated Subtropical Moist Forest1. Biotropica. 2005;37:16–24. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7429.2005.04052.x..
- University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI
- Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA
- International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Río Piedras, PR