Long-Term Elevation Plots (LTEP) (Altitudinal transects vegetation data along three rivers in the Luquillo Experimental Forest)



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The composition of plant communities changes with elevation in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF). The goal of this project is to document the patterns of these changes, and in particular, to determine whether the distributions of individual species are independent of one another, or whether they are related, in either a congruent or a hierarchical manner. Thirty-two permanent vegetation plots, each 50m by 20m are being established in the LEF, with 5 plots along the Icacos river, 11 along the Mamayes river and 16 along the Sonadora stream. The plots were established at every 100m in elevation, starting at 200m above sea level. All woody, free-standing stems greater than 1cm dbh were marked, identified and mapped into 5x5 subquadrats. We anticipated that gradient analysis will show whether the distributions of species are coincident or independent, enabling us to evaluate whether separate, genuine plant communities exist in the LEF. Because the plots are permanent, we also expected that they allow us to better evaluate how different vegetation types, at different elevations, respond to large scale disturbances, especially hurricanes.

Date Range: 
2001-09-17 00:00:00 to 2002-07-31 00:00:00

Publication Date: 

2011-06-07 00:00:00



Additional Project roles: 

Name: Miguel C Leon Role: Data Manager
Name: John Barone Role: Associated Researcher
Name: Nicholas Brokaw Role: Associated Researcher
Name: John Thomlinson Role: Associated Researcher


Thirty two 50m by 20m permanent plots were established in the Luquillo Experimental Forest. Twenty-four plots were located by one of three rivers, the Sonadora, Icacos, and Mamayes. Plots were located at 50m intervals along the rivers. To locate a plot, the elevation of a site was determined using a GPS receiver while standing in the river, and the plot was established by moving into the forest from the river, and staking out a corner at that elevation, as soon as we were out of the immediate riparian zone. The long axis of each plot runs parallel to the contours of the slope. Using a field tape, each plot was divided into ten 10mx10m quadrats (in two rows of five), and then each quadrat was further subdivided into four 5mx5m subquadrats. Every free-standing woody stem greater than 1 cm dbh was marked, using a individually numbered metal tag tied to the plant using green horticulture tape. The diameter of the stem was measured at 130cm above the ground, and the stem was identified to species. The numbers for each plot were independent, starting over at 1. At the conclusion of each plot four corner posts were left in the ground, with a metal tag tied to its top, to help with re-location.



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