tropical forest management

Forest conservation and land development in Puerto Rico

Helmer, E.H., 2004. Forest conservation and land development in Puerto Rico.
Landscape Ecol. 19, 29–40.

In the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, rapid land-use changes over the past century have included recent land-cover conversion to urban/built-up lands. Observations of this land development adjacent to reserves or replacing dense forest call into question how the changes relate to forests or reserved lands. Using existing maps, this study first summarizes island-wide land-cover change between 1977-78 and 1991-92. Then, using binomial logit modeling, it seeks evidence that simple forest cover attributes, reserve locations, or existing land cover influence land development locations. Finally, this study quantifies land development, reserve protection and forest cover by ecological zone. Results indicate that 1) pasture is more likely to undergo land development than shrubland plus forest with low canopy density, 2) forest condition and conservation status appear unimportant in that development locations neither distinguish between classes of forest canopy development nor relate to forest patch size or reserve proximity, and 3) most land development occurs in the least-protected ecological zones. Outside the boundaries of strictly protected forest and other reserves, accessibility, proximity to existing urban areas, and perhaps desirable natural settings, serve to increase land development. Over the coming century, opportunities to address ecological zone gaps in the island’s forest reserve system could be lost more rapidly in lowland ecological zones, which are relatively unprotected.

Future Trends and Research Needs in Managing Forests and Grasslands as Drinking Water Sources

The management of forest and grassland watersheds for drinking water supplies has been, and will continue to be, a major activity of the Forest Service and other natural resource agencies. However, these watersheds will continue to support other uses, including providing timber products, recreation, mining, fisheries, grazing, and the conservation of biodiversity. In addition, relatively new uses like using forests for carbon and nutrient sequestration (DeLucia and others 1999) or the recycling of wastewater (Cole and others 1986, Sopper and Kardos 1973) will increase. The future is also expected to bring increased competition for existing water resources (Postel 1998) and changes from point source to watershed-based pollution management (U.S. EPA 1997). How these watersheds will be managed in this increasingly competitive, watershed-based, multiuse environment will be affected by site-specific knowledge of environmental change, technological change, and social and administrative considerations.

Ecological rhythms and the management of humid tropical forests: Examples from the Caribbean National Forest, Puerto Rico

Scatena FN. 2001. Ecological rhythms and the management of humid tropical
forests: Examples from the Caribbean National Forest, Puerto Rico.
Forest Ecology and Management 154: 453–464.

A common premise in modern forest management is that land management should operate over large enough spatial and temporal scales that common natural disturbances are present and implicitly considered. Less emphasis has been focused on managing humid tropical forest ecosystems with the periodic ecological processes that occur between disturbances. The central premise of this paper is that timing management activities to periodic ecological processes that occur between disturbances is an additional prerequisite for the effective management of humid tropical forests. Ecological rhythms are defined here as biological or biogeochemical processes that have definable periodicities and include phenological, circadian, biogeochemical, and behavioral processes. The paper documents the use of ecological rhythms in the management of endangered species and water resources in the Caribbean National Forest of Northeastern Puerto Rico. While this type of dynamic management has proven benefits, managers and regulatory agencies have been hesitant to utilize complex, ecologically based dynamic management schedules because they can be difficult to monitor and regulate. Fortunately, recent technological advantages greatly increase the ability to conduct complex real-time, spatially explicit management. Identifying important ecological rhythms and developing administrative structures that can integrate them into management will be a major challenge in both tropical and temperate environments in the coming decades.
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