Categorization of topographical features into landform type is a long-standing method for understanding physiographic patterns in the environment. Differences in forest composition between landform types are driven primarily by concurrent differences in soil composition and moisture, but also disturbance regime. Many studies have focused on the interaction between fire disturbance, succession, and landforms, but the effects of hurricane disturbance on compositional differences between landforms are poorly understood. In the study presented here, we assess compositional and structural differences between landform types in the tree community of a young sub-tropical forest that is frequently subjected to hurricanes. Specifically, we ask whether the tree community (1) changed structurally over the study period, (2) experienced compositional change over the study period, (3) is compositionally different between landform types, and (4) exhibits compositional change mediated by landform type.
The tree community experienced significant structural change over the course of our study, but compositional change was only significant for some landforms.
Despite large-scale, intense, and frequent hurricane disturbance to our study system, compositional change in the tree community was localized and only significant for some landform types.
Spicer, Robert L.; Lugo, Ariel E.; and Ruhl, Nathan, "Landform type mediates compositional change in a hurricane-disturbed sub-tropical forest" (2020). Faculty Scholarship for the College of Science & Mathematics. 170.
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Spicer, R.L., Lugo, A.E., & Ruhl, N. (2020). Landform type mediates compositional change in a hurricane-disturbed sub-tropical forest. Ecological Processes 9:26. doi: 10.1186/s13717-020-00223-y.