A decade of belowground reorganization following multiple disturbances in a subtropical wet forest

Teh, Y.A.; Silver, W.L.; Scatena, F.N. 2009. A decade of belowground reorganization following multiple disturbances in a subtropical wet forest. Plant and Soil. 323: 197-212.

Abstract: 
Humid tropical forests are dynamic ecosystems that experience multiple and overlapping disturbance events that vary in frequency, intensity, and spatial extent. Here we report the results of a 10-year study investigating the effects of forest clearing and multiple hurricanes on ecosystem carbon reservoirs, nutrient pools and vegetation. The aboveground plant community was most heavily affected by multiple disturbances, with the 9-year-old stands showing high rates of hurricane-induced mortality relative to surrounding forest. Belowground pools were less affected. Live fine root biomass fluctuated in response to multiple disturbances, but returned to pre-disturbance levels after 10 years. Soil C was resilient to clearing and hurricanes, probably due to the large pool size and high clay content. Soil P fluctuated over time, declining during periods of rapid plant recovery and growth. With the exception of K, base cations recovered within 2 years following clearing and showed little response to hurricane disturbance.