topography

Wet canopy evaporation from a Puerto Rican lower montane rain forest: the importance of realistically estimated aerodynamic conductance

Holwerda F., Bruijnzeel L.A., Scatena F.N., Vugts H.F., Meesters A.G.C.A 2011. Wet canopy evaporation from a Puerto Rican lower montane rain forest: the importance of realistically estimated aerodynamic conductance. In press Journal of Hydrology

Abstract: 
Rainfall interception (I) was measured in 20 m tall Puerto Rican tropical forest with complex topography for a one-year period using totalizing throughfall (TF) and stemflow (SF) gauges that were measured every 2–3 days. Measured values were then compared to evaporation under saturated canopy conditions (E) determined with the Penman-Monteith (P-M) equation, using (i) measured (eddy covariance) and (ii) calculated (as a function of forest height and wind speed) values for the aerodynamic conductance to momentum flux (ga,M). E was also derived using the energy balance equation and the sensible heat flux measured by a sonic anemometer (Hs). I per sampling occasion was strongly correlated with rainfall (P): I = 0.21P + 0.60 (mm), r2 = 0.82, n = 121. Values for canopy storage capacity (S = 0.37 mm) and the average relative evaporation rate (E/R = 0.20) were derived from data for single events (n = 51). Application of the Gash analytical interception model to 70 multiple-storm sampling events using the above values for S and E/R gave excellent agreement with measured I. For E/R = 0.20 and an average rainfall intensity (R) of 3.16 mm h-1, the TF-based E was 0.63 mm h-1, about four times the value derived with the P-M equation using a conventionally calculated ga,M (0.16 mm h-1). Estimating ga,M using wind data from a nearby but more exposed site yielded a value of E (0.40 mm h-1) that was much closer to the observed rate, whereas E derived using the energy balance equation and Hs was very low (0.13 mm h-1), presumably because Hs was underestimated due to the use of too short a flux-averaging period (5-min). The best agreement with the observed E was obtained when using the measured ga,M in the P-M equation (0.58 mm h-1). The present results show that in areas with complex topography, ga,M, and consequently E, can be strongly underestimated when calculated using equations that were derived originally for use in flat terrain; hence, direct measurement of ga,M using eddy covariance is recommended. The currently measured ga,M (0.31 m s-1) was at least several times, and up to one order of magnitude higher than values reported for forests in areas with flat or gentle topography (0.03–0.08 m s-1, at wind speeds of about 1 m s-1). The importance of ga,M at the study site suggests a negative, downward, sensible heat flux sustains the observed high evaporation rates during rainfall. More work is needed to better quantify Hs during rainfall in tropical forests with complex topography.

Twelve testable hypotheses on the Geobiology of weathering

Brantley S.L., Megonigal J.P., Scatena F.N. et al 2010. Twelve testable hypotheses on the Geobiology of weathering. Geobiology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2010.00264.x

Abstract: 
Critical Zone (CZ) research investigates the chemical, physical, and biological processes that modulate the Earth’s surface. Here, we advance 12 hypotheses that must be tested to improve our understanding of the CZ: (1) Solar-to-chemical conversion of energy by plants regulates flows of carbon, water, and nutrients through plant-microbe soil networks, thereby controlling the location and extent of biological weathering. (2) Biological stoichiometry drives changes in mineral stoichiometry and distribution through weathering. (3) On landscapes experiencing little erosion, biology drives weathering during initial succession, whereas weathering drives biology over the long term.(4) In eroding landscapes, weathering-front advance at depth is coupled to surface denudation via biotic processes.(5) Biology shapes the topography of the Critical Zone.(6) The impact of climate forcing on denudation rates in natural systems can be predicted from models incorporating biogeochemical reaction rates and geomorphological transport laws.(7) Rising global temperatures will increase carbon losses from the Critical Zone.(8) Rising atmospheric PCO2 will increase rates and extents of mineral weathering in soils.(9) Riverine solute fluxes will respond to changes in climate primarily due to changes in water fluxes and secondarily through changes in biologically mediated weathering.(10) Land use change will impact Critical Zone processes and exports more than climate change. (11) In many severely altered settings, restoration of hydrological processes is possible in decades or less, whereas restoration of biodiversity and biogeochemical processes requires longer timescales.(12) Biogeochemical properties impart thresholds or tipping points beyond which rapid and irreversible losses of ecosystem health, function, and services can occur.

The Forest Types and Ages Cleared for Land Development in Puerto Rico

Kennaway, Todd; Helmer, E. H. 2007. The Forest Types and Ages Cleared for Land Development in Puerto Rico.. GIScience & Remote Sensing, 44, No. 4, :356-382.

Abstract: 
On the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, forest, urban/built-up, and pasture lands have replaced most formerly cultivated lands. The extent and age distribution of each forest type that undergoes land development, however, is unknown. This study assembles a time series of four land cover maps for Puerto Rico. The time series includes two digitized paper maps of land cover in 1951 and 1978 that are based on photo interpretation. The other two maps are of forest type and land cover and are based on decision tree classification of Landsat image mosaics dated 1991 and 2000. With the map time series we quantify land-cover changes from 1951 to 2000; map forest age classes in 1991 and 2000; and quantify the forest that undergoes land development (urban development or surface mining) from 1991 to 2000 by forest type and age. This step relies on intersecting a map of land development from 1991 to 2000 (from the same satellite imagery) with the forest age and type maps. Land cover changes from 1991 to 2000 that continue prior trends include urban expansion and transition of sugar cane, pineapple, and other lowland agriculture to pasture. Forest recovery continues, but it has slowed. Emergent and forested wetland area increased between 1977 and 2000. Sun coffee cultivation appears to have increased slightly. Most of the forests cleared for land development, 55%, were young (1–13 yr). Only 13% of the developed forest was older (41–55+ yr). However, older forest on rugged karst lands that long ago reforested is vulnerable to land development if it is close to an urban center and unprotected.

Spatial dependence and the relationship of soil organic carbon and soil moisture in the luquillo experimental forest, puerto rico

Wang H, Hall CAS, Cornell JD, Hall MHP.
2002. Spatial dependence and the relationship
of soil organic carbon and soil moisture in Luquillo experimental forest. Landsc.
Ecol. 17:671–84

Abstract: 
We used geo-spatial statistical techniques to examine the spatial variation and relationship of soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil moisture (SM) in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), Puerto Rico, in order to test the hypothesis that mountainous terrain introduces spatial autocorrelation and crosscorrelation in ecosystem and soil properties. Soil samples (n = 100) were collected from the LEF in the summer of 1998 and analyzed for SOC, SM, and bulk density (BD). A global positioning system was used to georeference the location of each sampling site. At each site, elevation, slope and aspect were recorded. We calculated the isotropic and anisotropic semivariograms of soil and topographic properties, as well as the cross-variograms between SOC and SM, and between SOC and elevation. Then we used four models (random, linear, spherical and wave/hole) to test the semivariances of SOC, SM, BD, elevation, slope and aspect for spatial dependence. Our results indicate that all the studied properties except slope angle exhibit spatial dependence within the scale of sampling (200 – 1000 m sampling interval). The spatially structured variance (the variance due to the location of sampling sites) accounted for a large proportion of the sample variance for elevation (99%), BD (90%), SOC (68%), aspect (56%) and SM (44%). The ranges of spatial dependence (the distances within which parameters are spatially dependent) for aspect, SOC, elevation, SM, and BD were 9810 m, 3070 m, 1120 m, 930 m and 430 m, respectively. Cross correlograms indicate that SOC varies closely with elevation and SM depending on the distances between samples. The correlation can shift from positive to negative as the separation distance increases. Larger ranges of spatial dependence of SOC, aspect and elevation indicate that the distribution of SOC in the LEF is determined by a combination of biotic (e.g., litterfall) and abiotic factors (e.g., microclimate and topographic features) related to elevation and aspect. This demonstrates the importance of both elevation and topographic gradients in controlling climate, vegetation distribution and soil properties as well as the associated biogeochemical processes in the LEF.

Land Use History, Environment, and Tree Composition in a Tropical Forest

Thompson, Jill; Brokaw, Nicholas; Zimmerman, Jess K.; Waide, Robert B.; Everham, Edwin M. III; Lodge, D. Jean; Taylor, Charlotte M.; Garcia-Montiel, Diana; Fluet, Marcheterre 2002. Land use history, environment, and tree composition in a tropical forest. Ecological applications. Vol. 12, no. 5 (2002): pages 1344-1363.

Abstract: 
The effects of historical land use on tropical forest must be examined to understand present forest characteristics and to plan conservation strategies. We compared the effects of past land use, topography, soil type, and other environmental variables on tree species composition in a subtropical wet forest in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico. The study involved stems > 10 cm diameter measured at 130 cm above the ground, within the 16-ha Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot (LFDP), and represents the forest at the time Hurricane Hugo struck in 1989. Topography in the plot is rugged, and soils are variable. Historical documents and local residents described past land uses such as clear-felling and selective logging followed by farming, fruit and coffee production, and timber stand improvement in the forest area that now includes the LFDP. These uses ceased 40-60 yr before the study, but their impacts could be differentiated by percent canopy cover seen in aerial photographs from 1936. Using these photographs, we defined four historic cover classes within the LFDP. These ranged from cover class 1, the least tree-covered area in 1936, to cover class 4, with the least intensive historic land use (selective logging and timber stand improvement). In 1989, cover class 1 had the lowest stem density and proportion of large stems, whereas cover class 4 had the highest basal area, species richness, and number of rare and endemic species. Ordination of tree species composition (89 species, 13 167 stems) produced arrays that primarily corresponded to the four cover classes (i.e., historic land uses). The ordination arrays corresponded secondarily to soil characteristics and topography. Natural disturbances (hurricanes, landslides, and local treefalls) affected tree composition, but these effects did not correlate with the major patterns of species distributions on the plot. Thus, it appears that forest development and natural disturbance have not masked the effects of historical land use in this tropical forest, and that past land use was the major influence on the patterns of tree composition in the plot in 1989. The least disturbed stand harbors more rare and endemic species, and such stands should be protected.

Topographic control of soil microbial activity: a case study of denitrifiers

Florinsky, 1. V., S. McMahon, and D. L. Burton. 2004.
Topographic control of soil microbial activity: a case study of
denitrifiers. Geoderma 119:33-53.

Abstract: 
Topography may affect soil microbial processes, however, the use of topographic data to model and predict the spatial distribution of soil microbial properties has not been widely reported. We studied the effect of topography on the activity of denitrifiers under different hydrologic conditions in a typical agroecosystem of the northern grasslands of North America using digital terrain modelling (DTM). Three data sets were used: (1) digital models of nine topographic attributes, such as elevation, slope gradient and aspect, horizontal, vertical, and mean land surface curvatures, specific catchment area, topographic, and stream power indices; (2) two soil environmental attributes (soil gravimetric moisture and soil bulk density); and (3) six attributes of soil microbial activity (most probable number of denitrifiers, microbial biomass carbon content, denitrifier enzyme activity, nitrous oxide flux, denitrification rate, and microbial respiration rate). Linear multiple correlation, rank correlation, circular–linear correlation, circular rank correlation, and multiple regression were used as statistical analyses. In wetter soil conditions, topographically controlled and gravity-driven supply of nutritive materials to microbiota increased the denitrification rate. Spatial differentiation of the denitrification rate and amount of denitrifying enzyme in the soil was mostly effected by redistribution and accumulation of soil moisture and soil organic matter down the slope according to the relative position of a point in the landscape. The N2O emission was effected by differentiation and gain of soil moisture and organic matter due to the local geometry of a slope. The microbial biomass, number of denitrifiers, and microbial respiration depended on both the local geometry of a slope and relative position of a point in the landscape. In drier soil conditions, although denitrification persisted, it was reduced and did not depend on the spatial distribution of soil moisture and thus land surface morphology. This may result from a reduction in soil moisture content below a critical level sufficient for transient induction of denitrification but not sufficient to preserve spatial patterns of the denitrification according to relief. Digital terrain models can be used to predict the spatial distribution of the microbial biomass and amount of denitrifying enzyme in the soil. The study demonstrated a feasibility of applying digital terrain modelling to investigate relations of other groups of soil microbiota with topography and the system ‘topography–soil microbiota’ as a whole.

Wet canopy evaporation from a Puerto Rican lower montane rain forest: the importance of realistically estimated aerodynamic conductance

Abstract: 
Rainfall interception (I) was measured in 20 m tall Puerto Rican tropical forest with 4 complex topography for a one-year period using totalizing throughfall (TF) and stemflow 5 (SF) gauges that were measured every 23 days. Measured values were then compared to 6 evaporation under saturated canopy conditions (E) determined with the Penman-Monteith 7 (P-M) equation, using (i) measured (eddy covariance) and (ii) calculated (as a function of 8 forest height and wind speed) values for the aerodynamic conductance to momentum flux 9 (ga,M). E was also derived using the energy balance equation and the sensible heat flux 10 measured by a sonic anemometer (Hs). I per sampling occasion was strongly correlated with rainfall (P): I = 0.21P + 0.60 (mm), r2 11 = 0.82, n = 121. Values for canopy storage 12 capacity (S = 0.37 mm) and the average relative evaporation rate (E/R = 0.20) were 13 derived from data for single events (n = 51). Application of the Gash analytical 14 interception model to 70 multiple-storm sampling events using the above values for S and 15 E/R gave excellent agreement with measured I. For E/R = 0.20 and an average rainfall intensity (R) of 3.16 mm h-1, the TF-based E was 0.63 mm h-116 , about four times the value derived with the P-M equation using a conventionally calculated ga,M (0.16 mm h-117 ). 18 Estimating ga,M using wind data from a nearby but more exposed site yielded a value of E (0.40 mm h-119 ) that was much closer to the observed rate, whereas E derived using the energy balance equation and Hs was very low (0.13 mm h-120 ), presumably because Hs was 21 underestimated due to the use of too short a flux-averaging period (5-min). The best 22 agreement with the observed E was obtained when using the measured ga,M in the P-M equation (0.58 mm h-123 ). The present results show that in areas with complex topography, 1 strongly underestimated when calculated using 2 equations that were derived originally for use in flat terrain; hence, direct measurement of ga,M using eddy covariance is recommended. The currently measured ga,M (0.31 m s-13 ) 4 was at least several times, and up to one order of magnitude higher than values reported for forests in areas with flat or gentle topography (0.03–0.08 m s-15 , at wind speeds of about 1 m s-16 ). The importance of ga,M at the study site suggests a negative, downward, 7 sensible heat flux sustains the observed high evaporation rates during rainfall. More work 8 is needed to better quantify Hs during rainfall in tropical forests with complex 9 topography.

Effect of Topography on the Pattern of Trees in Tabonuco (Dacryodes excelsa) Dominated Rain Forest of Puerto Rico

Effect of Topography on the Pattern of Trees in Tabonuco (Dacryodes excelsa) Dominated Rain Forest of Puerto Rico
Khadga Basnet
Biotropica
Vol. 24, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 31-42

Abstract: 
The structure, composition, and spatial patterns of tree species in two adjacent watersheds of the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico were investigated. Both watersheds had the same vegetational characteristics. Dacryodes excelsa! Sloanea berteriana, and Guarea guidonia were the most important trees in the overstory. A profile diagram, chisquare criterion, and multivariate techniques showed the same result: trees were related significantly to topographic variables. Large trees, especially the dominant species, tabonuco, were associated significantly with ridges and slopes. Size-class distributions of individual species varied as a function of broad ecological factors such as topography and disturbance regime. Past anthropogenic disturbance was still apparent in the pattern of distribution of large trees along the elevational gradients of the watersheds. Dacryodes excelsa is the dominant species, even though Sloanea berteriana has higher representation in smaller size-classes.
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