Long-Term Research in the Luquillo Mountains: synthesis and foundations for the future

TitleLong-Term Research in the Luquillo Mountains: synthesis and foundations for the future
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsWillig, MR, Bloch, CP, Covich, A, Hall, CAS, Lodge, DJ, Lugo, AE, Silver, WL, Waide, RB, Walker, LA, Zimmerman, JK
EditorN. V. L. Brokaw, Crowl, AT, Lugo, AE, McDowell, WH, Scantena, FN, Waide, RB, Willig, MR
Book TitleA Caribbean Forest Tapestry: The Multidimensional Nature of Disturbance and Response
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York, NY.
Accession NumberLUQ.1078

Key Points • The biota responds to disturbance and, equally important, influences the frequency, magnitude, and intensity of disturbances. • Environmental gradients provide a context for contrasting the roles of particular species with respect to resilience and resistance during the interplay between disturbance and succession. • Disturbance increases the complexity of interactions (i.e., macro- and microclimatic, biogeochemical, biotic) that control the flow of energy and cycling of materials through ecosystems. • Soil microorganisms, as well as the timing, quantity, and quality of litter deposition, play a critical role in affecting the dynamics of carbon and nutrient cycling over short and long temporal scales. • Disturbance affects the life history and demographic parameters of species at fine spatial scales and creates a mosaic of patches at large spatial scales, which together influence the dispersal of individuals among patches (i.e., the degree of connectedness) in a species-specific fashion. Such a cross-scale perspective provides a spatially explicit metacommunity framework for understanding the assembly of species in disturbance-mediated environments. • Differences in biodiversity affect ecosystem processes through species complementarity, organismal traits, and trophic interactions. These effects are mediated by scale and ultimately determine the resistance and resilience of ecosystems to disturbance. • The effects of multiple disturbances on riparian and stream communities have complex spatial and temporal linkages. Life histories of species that connect freshwater and marine communities with those in headwater tributaries and riparian forests provide pathways for pulsed flows of energy and materials. • Anthropogenic disturbance facilitates invasions by introduced tree species, sometimes culminating in the emergence of new forest communities domi- nated by introduced taxa. The development of these new emerging forests does not necessarily result in the loss of native species or a reduction in species richness. • In mature forests not subject to intense anthropogenic degradation, intro- duced species can occur sporadically as rare species in hurricane-induced gaps, but these populations rapidly decrease in numbers after canopy closure. • The recognition and study of emerging new forests is important for devel- oping an ecological understanding of how organisms respond to anthropo- genic disturbances, including global climate change. • Forecasting environmental change requires the integration of biophysical and social science perspectives. We outline an approach for developing an integrated social-ecological system for the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico.  Also access article in: http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pubs/bc_iitf_2012_Willig001.pdf