Lugo A.E.

Long-term dynamics of organic matter and elements exported as coarse particulates from two Caribbean montane watersheds

Heartsill Scalley, T., Scatena, F.N., Moya S., Lugo A.E., 2012 Long-term dynamics of organic matter and elements exported as coarse particulates from two Caribbean montane watersheds. Journal of Tropical Ecology. Vol 28. pp 127-139. doi:10.1017/S0266467411000733

Carbon Sequestration and Plan Community Dynamics Following Reforestation of Tropical Pasture

Silver W.L., Kuppers L.M., Lugo A.E. et al. Carbon Sequestration and Plan Community Dynamics Following Reforestation of Tropical Pasture. Ecological Applications, Vol 14(4), 2004 pp 1115-1127.

Abstract: 
Conversion of abandoned cattle pastures to secondary forests and plantations in the tropics has been proposed as a means to increase rates of carbon (C) sequestration from the atmosphere and enhance local biodiversity. We used a long-term tropical reforestation project (55–61 yr) to estimate rates of above- and belowground C sequestration and to investigate the impact of planted species on overall plant community structure. Thirteen tree species (nine native and four nonnative species) were planted as part of the reforestation effort in the mid to late 1930s. In 1992, there were 75 tree species (.9.1 cm dbh) in the forest. Overall, planted species accounted for 40% of the importance value of the forest; planted nonnative species contributed only 5% of the importance value. In the reforested ecosystem, the total soil C pool (0–60 cm depth) was larger than the aboveground C pool, and there was more soil C in the forest (102 6 10 Mg/ha [mean 6 1 SE]) than in an adjacent pasture of similar age (69 6 16 Mg/ha). Forest soil C (C3-C) increased at a rate of ;0.9 Mg·ha21·yr21, but residual pasture C (C4-C) was lost at a rate of 0.4 Mg·ha21·yr21, yielding a net gain of 33 Mg/ha as a result of 61 years of forest regrowth. Aboveground C accumulated at a rate of 1.4 6 0.05 Mg·ha21·yr21, to a total of 80 6 3 Mg/ha. A survey of 426 merchantable trees in 1959 and 1992 showed that they grew faster in the second 33 years of forest development than in the first 22 years, indicating that later stages of forest development can play an important role in C sequestration. Few indices of C cycling were correlated with plant community composition or structure. Our results indicate that significant soil C can accumulate with reforestation and that there are strong legacies of pasture use and reforestation in plant community structure and rates of plant C sequestration.

Nutrient relations of dwarf Rhizophora mangle L. mangroves on peat in eastern Puerto Rico

Medina E, Cuevas E, Lugo AE (2010) Nutrient relations of
dwarf Rhizophora mangle L. mangroves on peat in eastern
Puerto Rico. Plant Ecol 207:13–24

Abstract: 
Dwarf mangroves on peat substrate growing in eastern Puerto Rico (Los Machos, Ceiba State Forest) were analyzed for element concentration, leaf sap osmolality, and isotopic signatures of C and N in leaves and substrate. Mangrove communities behind the fringe presented poor structural development with maximum height below 1.5 m, lacked a main stem, and produced horizontal stems from which rhizophores developed. This growth form departs from other dwarf mangrove sites in Belize, Panama, and Florida. The dwarf mangroves were not stressed by salinity but by the low P availability reflected in low P concentrations in adult and senescent leaves. Low P availability was associated with reduced remobilization of N and accumulation of K in senescent leaves, contrasting with the behavior of this cation in terrestrial plants. Remobilization of N and P before leaf abscission on a weight basis indicated complete resorption of these nutrients. On an area basis, resorption was complete for P but not for N. Sulfur accumulated markedly with leaf age, reaching values up to 400%, compared with relatively modest accumulation of Na (40%) in the same leaves. This suggests a more effective rejection of Na than sulfate at the root level. Dwarf mangrove leaves had more positive d13C values, which were not related to salinity, but possibly to drought during the dry season due to reduced flooding, and/or reduced hydraulic conductance under P limitation. Negative leaf d15N values were associated with low leaf P concentrations. Comparison with other R. mangle communities showed that P concentration in adult leaves below 13 mmol kg-1 is associated with negative d15N values, whereas leaves with P concentrations above 30 mmol kg-1 in non-polluted environments had positive d15N values.

The potential for carbon sequestration through reforestation of abandoned tropical agricultural and pasture lands

Silver, W.L. et al. (2000) The potential for carbon sequestration
through reforestation of abandoned tropical agricultural and pasture
lands. Rest. Ecol. 8, 394–407

Abstract: 
Approximately half of the tropical biome is in some stage of recovery from past human disturbance, most of which is in secondary forests growing on abandoned agricultural lands and pastures. Reforestation of these abandoned lands, both natural and managed, has been proposed as a means to help offset increasing carbon emissions to the atmosphere. In this paper we discuss the potential of these forests to serve as sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide in aboveground biomass and soils. A review of literature data shows that aboveground biomass increases at a rate of 6.2 Mg ha−1 yr−1 during the first 20 years of succession, and at a rate of 2.9 Mg ha−1 yr−1 over the first 80 years of regrowth. During the first 20 years of regrowth, forests in wet life zones have the fastest rate of aboveground carbon accumulation with reforestation, followed by dry and moist forests. Soil carbon accumulated at a rate of 0.41 Mg ha−1yr−1 over a 100-year period, and at faster rates during the first 20 years (1.30 Mg carbon ha−1 yr−1). Past land use affects the rate of both above- and belowground carbon sequestration. Forests growing on abandoned agricultural land accumulate biomass faster than other past land uses, while soil carbon accumulates faster on sites that were cleared but not developed, and on pasture sites. Our results indicate that tropical reforestation has the potential to serve as a carbon offset mechanism both above- and belowground for at least 40 to 80 years, and possibly much longer. More research is needed to determine the potential for longer-term carbon sequestration for mitigation of atmospheric CO2 emissions.

Nutrient relations of dwarf Rhizophora mangle L. mangroves on peat in eastern Puerto Rico

Medina E, Cuevas E, Lugo AE (2010) Nutrient relations of
dwarf Rhizophora mangle L. mangroves on peat in eastern
Puerto Rico. Plant Ecol 207:13–24

Abstract: 
Dwarf mangroves on peat substrate growing in eastern Puerto Rico (Los Machos, Ceiba State Forest) were analyzed for element concentration, leaf sap osmolality, and isotopic signatures of C and N in leaves and substrate. Mangrove communities behind the fringe presented poor structural development with maximum height below 1.5 m, lacked a main stem, and produced horizontal stems from which rhizophores developed. This growth form departs from other dwarf mangrove sites in Belize, Panama, and Florida. The dwarf mangroves were not stressed by salinity but by the low P availability reflected in low P concentrations in adult and senescent leaves. Low P availability was associated with reduced remobilization of N and accumulation of K in senescent leaves, contrasting with the behavior of this cation in terrestrial plants. Remobilization of N and P before leaf abscission on a weight basis indicated complete resorption of these nutrients. On an area basis, resorption was complete for P but not for N. Sulfur accumulated markedly with leaf age, reaching values up to 400%, compared with relatively modest accumulation of Na (40%) in the same leaves. This suggests a more effective rejection of Na than sulfate at the root level. Dwarf mangrove leaves had more positive d13C values, which were not related to salinity, but possibly to drought during the dry season due to reduced flooding, and/or reduced hydraulic conductance under P limitation. Negative leaf d15N values were associated with low leaf P concentrations. Comparison with other R. mangle communities showed that P concentration in adult leaves below 13 mmol kg-1 is associated with negative d15N values, whereas leaves with P concentrations above 30 mmol kg-1 in non-polluted environments had positive d15N values.

Relationship between aboveground biomass and multiple measures of biodiversity in subtropical forest of Puerto Rico

Vance-Chalcraft, Heather D.; Willig, Michael R.; Cox, Stephen B.; Lugo, Ariel E.; Scatena, Frederick N. 2010. Relationship between aboveground biomass and multiple measures of biodiversity in subtropical forest of Puerto Rico. Biotropica. 42(3):290-299.

Abstract: 
Anthropogenic activities have accelerated the rate of global loss of biodiversity, making it more important than ever to understand the structure of biodiversity hotspots. One current focus is the relationship between species richness and aboveground biomass (AGB) in a variety of ecosystems. Nonetheless, species diversity, evenness, rarity, or dominance represent other critical attributes of biodiversity and may have associations with AGB that are markedly different than that of species richness. Using data from large trees in four environmentally similar sites in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico, we determined the shape and strength of relationships between each of five measures of biodiversity (i.e., species richness, Simpson’s diversity, Simpson’s evenness, rarity, and dominance) and AGB. We quantified these measures of biodiversity using either proportional biomass or proportional abundance as weighting factors. Three of the four sites had a unimodal relationship between species richness and AGB, with only the most mature site evincing a positive, linear relationship. The differences between the mature site and the other sites, as well as the differences between our richness–AGB relationships and those found at other forest sites, highlight the crucial role that prior land use and severe storms have on this forest community. Although the shape and strength of relationships differed greatly among measures of biodiversity and among sites, the strongest relationships within each site were always those involving richness or evenness.

Relationship Between Aboveground Biomass and Multiple Measures of Biodiversity in Subtropical Forest of Puerto Rico

Vance-Chalcraft, Heather D.; Willig, Michael R.; Cox, Stephen B.; Lugo, Ariel E.; Scatena, Frederick N. 2010. Relationship between aboveground biomass and multiple measures of biodiversity in subtropical forest of Puerto Rico. Biotropica. 42(3):290-299.

Abstract: 
Anthropogenic activities have accelerated the rate of global loss of biodiversity, making it more important than ever to understand the structure of biodiversity hotspots. One current focus is the relationship between species richness and aboveground biomass (AGB) in a variety of ecosystems. Nonetheless, species diversity, evenness, rarity, or dominance represent other critical attributes of biodiversity and may have associations with AGB that are markedly different than that of species richness. Using data from large trees in four environmentally similar sites in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico, we determined the shape and strength of relationships between each of five measures of biodiversity (i.e., species richness, Simpson’s diversity, Simpson’s evenness, rarity, and dominance) and AGB. We quantified these measures of biodiversity using either proportional biomass or proportional abundance as weighting factors. Three of the four sites had a unimodal relationship between species richness and AGB, with only the most mature site evincing a positive, linear relationship. The differences between the mature site and the other sites, as well as the differences between our richness–AGB relationships and those found at other forest sites, highlight the crucial role that prior land use and severe storms have on this forest community. Although the shape and strength of relationships differed greatly among measures of biodiversity and among sites, the strongest relationships within each site were always those involving richness or evenness.

HURRICANE-INDUCED CHANGES IN VEGETATION STRUCTURE, COMPOSITION AND STOICHIOMETRY IN A SUBTROPICAL WET FOREST

Abstract: 
This paper compares aboveground forest structure and macronutrient stoichiometry over 5 15 years of hurricane induced secondary succession by species, life history groups, community 6 species composition, and geomorphic setting. Stem density continually increased after the 7 impact of the Category 4 hurricane Hugo and 15 years later, it was greater than pre-hurricane. 8 There were significant spatial and temporal differences in the number of species, the diversity 9 index per plot, forest structure, and biomass. The greatest compositional differences occurred 10 between the post-Hugo and the 15-year census. Prior to hurricane Hugo most plots had very 11 similar species composition and abundances, and thus occupied a small area in non-metric 12 multidimensional species space. Following the hurricane new species combinations occurred 13 and the location of plots was spread in multidimensional space. Diversity indices were 14 significantly different among geomorphic settings before and immediately after hurricane Hugo. 15 However, these differences were not observed again until the 15-year census where they returned 16 to pre-hurricane levels. Plant associations based on abundance, life history traits, and landscape 17 position had measurable differences in their structure, composition, aboveground nutrient 18 storage, and stoichiometry. However, these differences were reflected in a variety of ways at 19 different spatial scales. At the species level differences in macronutrient tissue concentrations 20 were apparent when comparing co-existing primary forests dominants, early successional 21 dominants, high-light and low-light species, and species whose stem densities are negatively 22 correlated. Community level differences were greater for forest structure and total nutrient 23 storage compared to the mass weighted concentrations of macronutrients. The largest differences observed were in Mg and can be attributed to the succession of pioneer species 2 following the hurricane. Over the entire 15-year period, the watershed average aboveground 3 stoichiometry was relatively consistent and this is linked to the biomass dominance of a few 4 species. The successional history recorded here also suggests that community level differences 5 in species composition, structure, and stoichiometry were well established after 10 to 15 years of 6 secondary succession.

Soil Oxygen Availability and Biogeochemistry along Rainfall and Topographic Gradients in Upland Wet Tropical Forest Soils

Silver W, Lugo AE, Keller M (1999) Soil oxygen availability and
biogeochemistry along rainfall and topographical gradients in
upland wet tropical forest soils. Biogeochemistry 44:301–
328

Abstract: 
We measured soil oxygen concentrations at 10 and 35 cm depths and indices of biogeochemical cycling in upland forest soils along a rainfall and elevation gradient (3500– 5000 mm y−1; 350–1050 masl) and along topographic gradients (ridge to valley, 150 m) in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Along the rainfall gradient, soil O2 availability decreased significantly with increasing annual rainfall, and reached very low levels (<3%) in individual chambers for up to 25 consecutive weeks over 82 weeks of study. Along localized topographic gradients, soil O2 concentrations were variable and decreased significantly from ridges to valleys. In the valleys, up to 35% of the observations at 10–35 cm depth were <3% soil O2. Cross correlation analyses showed that soil O2 concentrations were significantly positively correlated along the topographic gradient, and were sensitive to rainfall and hydrologic output. Soil O2 concentrations in valley soils were correlated with rainfall from the previous day, while ridge sites were correlated with cumulative rainfall inputs over 4 weeks. Soils at the wettest point along the rainfall gradient had very high soil methane concentrations (3–24%) indicating a strong influence of anaerobic processes.We measured net methane emission to the atmosphere at the wettest sites of the rainfall gradient, and in the valleys along topographic gradients. Other measures of biogeochemical function such as soil organic matter content and P availability were sensitive to chronic O2 depletion along the rainfall gradient, but less sensitive to the variable soil O2 environment exhibited at lower elevations along topographic gradients.

Geomorphology, disturbance, and the soil and vegetation of two subtropical wet steepland watersheds of Puerto Rico

F.N. Scatena, Ariel E. Lugo 1995. Geomorphology, disturbance, and the soil and vegetation of two subtropical wet steepland watersheds of Puerto Rico.. Geomorphology 13 :199-213.

Abstract: 
Relationships between landforms, soil nutrients, forest structure, and the relative importance of different disturbances were quantified in two subtropical wet steepland watersheds in Puerto Rico. Ridges had fewer landslides and treefall gaps, more above-ground biomass, older aged stands, and greater species richness than other landscape positions. Ridge soils had relatively low quantities of exchangeable bases but high soil organic matter, acidity and exchangeable iron. Valley sites had higher frequencies of disturbance, less biomass, younger aged stands, lower species richness and soils with more exchangeable bases.Soil N, P, and K were distributed relatively independently of geomorphic setting, but were significantly related to the composition and age of vegetation. On a watershed basis, hurricanes were the dominant natural disturbance in the turnover of individuals, biomass, and forest canopy. However, turnover by the mortality of individuals that die without creating canopy openings was faster than the turnover by any natural disturbance. Only in riparian areas was forest turnover by treefall gaps faster than turnover by hurricanes. The same downslope mass transfer that links soil forming processes across the landscape also influences the distribution of landslides, treefall gaps, and the structure and composition of the forest. One consequence of these interactions is that the greatest aboveground biomass occurs on ridges where the soil nutrient pools are the smallest. Geomorphic stability, edaphic conditions, and biotic adaptations apparently override the importance of spatial variations in soil nutrients in the accumulation of above-ground biomass at this site.
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