© 2017 Large-scale wind disturbances shape forest structure and composition and leave long lasting legacies. Adequate understanding of the role of disturbances in tropical stand dynamics is necessary to guide management efforts. In this study, we used field data to characterize the effects of a major hurricane in broadleaf and pine stands in Northern Nicaragua. First, we described tree and stand attributes associated with observed structural effects: branch loss, snapping and uprooting. Secondly, to assess the potential influence of hurricane Felix on stand composition, we characterized two key life-history traits: regeneration through resprouting and shade tolerance. Findings indicated that tree attributes such as diameter at breast height (dbh) and height to diameter ratio (hdr), were strongly associated with the type and magnitude of wind effects. All trees >70 cm dbh exhibited visible effects and trees taller than 14 m were more likely to be uprooted (7.3% vs. 0.8% of total). Results confirmed that Felix caused significant structural effects in broadleaf stands and mild effects in pine stands. Abundant post-hurricane resprouting was observed in both shade-tolerant and shade-intolerant species but was absent in pines. Among canopy trees we found eleven shade-intolerant species that exhibited abundant resprouting. These species could become dominant in the next decade. Our findings illustrate the role of wind disturbances on tropical stand dynamics at different spatial and temporal scales.
|Journal||Forest Ecology and Management|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Sep 2017|
- Forest management
- Región autónoma del Caribe Norte – RACN
- Stand dynamics
- Tropical forestry
- Wind disturbances