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Biotic and spatial factors potentially explain the susceptibility of forests to direct hurricane damage

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Authors
Kim, Daehyun; Millington, Andrew C; Lafon, Charles W
Issue Date
2019-11-27
Publisher
BMC
Citation
Journal of Ecology and Environment, 43(1):37
Keywords
DisturbanceHurricane RitaLife history traitsNeighborhood densitySpatial point pattern analysis
Abstract
Background
Ecologists continue to investigate the factors that potentially affect the pattern and magnitude of tree damage during catastrophic windstorms in forests. However, there still is a paucity of research on which trees are more vulnerable to direct damage by winds rather than being knocked down by the fall of another tree. We evaluated this question in a mixed hardwood–softwood forest within the Big Thicket National Preserve (BTNP) of southeast Texas, USA, which was substantially impacted by Hurricane Rita in September 2005.

Results
We showed that multiple factors, including tree height, shade-tolerance, height-to-diameter ratio, and neighborhood density (i.e., pre-Rita stem distribution) significantly explained the susceptibility of trees to direct storm damage. We also found that no single factor had pervasive importance over the others and, instead, that all factors were tightly intertwined in a complex way, such that they often complemented each other, and that they contributed simultaneously to the overall susceptibility to and patterns of windstorm damage in the BTNP.

Conclusions
Directly damaged trees greatly influence the forest by causing secondary damage to other trees. We propose that directly and indirectly damaged (or susceptible) trees should be considered separately when assessing or predicting the impact of windstorms on a forest ecosystem; to better predict the pathways of community structure reorganization and guide forest management and conservation practices. Forest managers are recommended to adopt a holistic view that considers and combines various components of the forest ecosystem when establishing strategies for mitigating the impact of catastrophic winds.
ISSN
2288-1220
Language
English
URI
https://doi.org/10.1186/s41610-019-0135-2

http://hdl.handle.net/10371/164765
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Dept. of Geography (지리학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_지리학과)
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