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Fonseca da Silva J.,International Institute of Tropical Forestry | Fonseca da Silva J.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2015

Novel forests (NFs)-forests that contain a combination of introduced and native species-are a consequence of intense anthropogenic disturbances and the natural resilience of disturbed ecosystems. The extent to which NFs have similar forest function as comparable native secondary forests is a matter of debate in the scientific community. Little is known about the performance of individual species in those forests. This study focuses on the functional attributes of Castilla elastica NFs in Puerto Rico and on the differences between introduced and native species growing side by side in these forests. Rates of processes measured here were later compared with data from literature about NSFs. I hypothesize that juvenile plants of C. elastica in NFs have higher survival rate than those of native species and that C. elastica trees have faster biomass fluxes than native trees. To test the hypotheses, I measured survival rates of juvenile plants and tree growth and characterized the aboveground litter fluxes and storage. Although juvenile plants of native species displayed higher survival rates than those of C. elastica (53% vs. 28%), the latter was dominant in the understory (96%). Stand biomass growth rate was 2.0 ± 0.4 (average ± one standard deviation) Mg·ha-1·year-1 for the whole forest, and Guarea guidonia, a native species, exhibited the highest tree growth. Total litter fall was 9.6 ± 0.5 Mg·ha-1·year-1, and mean litter standing stock was 4.4 ± 0.1 Mg·ha-1. Castilla elastica litter fall decomposed twice as fast as that of native species (5.8 ± 1.1 vs. 3.03 ± 1 k·year-1). Literature comparisons show that the present NFs differ in some rates of processes from NSFs. This study brings unique and detailed supporting data about the ecological dynamics under mature novel forest stands. Further comprehensive studies about NFs are important to strengthen the body of knowledge about the wide range of variation of emerging tropical ecosystems. Due to the large increase in the area covered by NFs, greater attention is needed to understand their functioning, delivery of ecological services and management requirements. Differences between the introduced naturalized species in a complex and dynamic novel forest. Nature has incredible power to regenerate and rearrange, which may result in surprising novel ecosystems. © 2015 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Wood T.E.,International Institute of Tropical Forestry | Detto M.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Silver W.L.,University of California at Berkeley
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Precipitation and temperature are important drivers of soil respiration. The role of moisture and temperature are generally explored at seasonal or inter-annual timescales; however, significant variability also occurs on hourly to daily time-scales. We used small (1.54 m2), throughfall exclusion shelters to evaluate the role soil moisture and temperature as temporal controls on soil CO2 efflux from a humid tropical forest in Puerto Rico. We measured hourly soil CO2 efflux, temperature and moisture in control and exclusion plots (n = 6) for 6-months. The variance of each time series was analyzed using orthonormal wavelet transformation and Haar-wavelet coherence. We found strong negative coherence between soil moisture and soil respiration in control plots corresponding to a two-day periodicity. Across all plots, there was a significant parabolic relationship between soil moisture and soil CO 2 efflux with peak soil respiration occurring at volumetric soil moisture of approximately 0.375 m3/m3. We additionally found a weak positive coherence between CO2 and temperature at longer time-scales and a significant positive relationship between soil temperature and CO2 efflux when the analysis was limited to the control plots. The coherence between CO2 and both temperature and soil moisture were reduced in exclusion plots. The reduced CO2 response to temperature in exclusion plots suggests that the positive effect of temperature on CO 2 is constrained by soil moisture availability. © 2013 Wood et al.

Munoz-Erickson T.A.,International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

I examined the multiple visions of the future of the city that can emerge when city actors and organizations reconfigure themselves to address sustainability. In various cities worldwide, novel ideas, initiatives, and networks are emerging in governance to address social and ecological conditions in urban areas. However, cities can be contested spaces, bringing a plurality of actors, network configurations, preferences, and knowledge that shape the politics over desirable pathways for future development. I used the knowledge-action systems analysis (KASA) approach to examine the frames and knowledge systems influencing how different actors involved in the land governance network of the city of San Juan constructed visions for the future of the city. Results revealed four visions for the city coexisting in San Juan. Although sustainability is a goal that cuts across all four visions, they each optimized distinct dimensions of the concept. The contrasts in visions can be explained in part by competing frames of the urban social-ecological system and power asymmetries in the multiple knowledge systems coexisting in the city. I discussed the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the politics of sustainability for adaptive urban governance research and practice. The KASA approach can serve as a window into the adaptive capacity of the city by disentangling the competing ways that actors ‘see’ and ‘know’ the urban social-ecological systems. Most importantly, this approach offers a way of appraising sustainable pathways by revealing either the extent to which dominant social structures and cognitive patterns are being reinforced, or whether opportunities for innovative and transformative approaches are emerging in the city. © 2014 by the author(s).

Mercado-Diaz J.A.,International Institute of Tropical Forestry | Lucking R.,University of Illinois at Chicago | Parnmen S.,Toxicology and Biochemistry Section
Phytotaxa | Year: 2014

Two new genera and twelve new species of Graphidaceae are described from Puerto Rico. The two new genera, Borinquenotrema and Paratopeliopsis, are based on a combination of molecular sequence data and phenotype characters. Borinquenotrema, with the single new species B. soredicarpum, features rounded ascomata developing beneath and persistently covered with soralia and with an internal anatomy reminescent of Carbacanthographis; it is close to the tribe Ocellularieae. Paratopeliopsis, including the single new species P. caraibica, resembles a miniature Topeliopsis but differs in the distinctly farinose thallus and the small, brown ascospores; it is not closely related to the latter genus but belongs in tribe Thelotremateae. The other ten new species belong in the genera Acanthotrema, Clandestinotrema, Compositrema, Fissurina, Ocellularia, and Thalloloma. Acanthotrema alboisidiatum is closely related to A. brasilianum but differs in the short, white isidia resembling insect eggs. Clandestinotrema portoricense has a unique ascospore type with a longitudinal septum only in the proximal cell. Compositrema borinquense resembles a species of Stegobolus but belongs in Compositrema based on sequence data, and is characterized by ascomata with a unique columella composed of thick, irregularly radiating strands. The second new species in this genus, C. isidiofarinosum, differs by its ecorticate, farinose thallus with scattered, corticate isidia and by its small ascomata with inconspicuous columella. The three new species of Fissurina all have 3-septate ascospores and are otherwise characterized by an isidiate thallus and stellate, orange-yellow lirellae (F. aurantiacostellata), a verrucose thallus strongly encrusted with calcium oxalate crystals and white, irregularly branched lirellae (F. crystallifera), and myriotremoid ascomata arranged in short lines (F. monilifera). Ocellularia portoricensis belongs in the core group of Ocellularia and differs from O. cavata in the white medulla and the larger ascospores becoming brown, whereas O. vulcanisorediata produces prominent soralia and immersed ascomata with apically carbonized excipulum and columella and small, transversely septate, hyaline ascospores; it is closely related to O. conformalis. Finally, Thalloloma rubromarginatum resembles T. haemographum in the brownish lirellae with bright red margin but differs from that and other species in the corticate thallus and the norstictic acid chemistry. The new combination Ampliotrema rimosum (Hale) Mercado-Díaz, Lücking & Parnmen is also proposed. Considering the current biodiversity knowledge on this family, the high level of endemism observed in other groups of organisms in the island, and the relatively high number of Graphidaceae described, it is highly likely that at least some of these new taxa are endemic to the island. This view is further supported by the unique features of several of the new species, representing novel characters in the corresponding genera. © 2014 Magnolia Press.

Abelleira Martinez O.J.,International Institute of Tropical Forestry | Abelleira Martinez O.J.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan
Plant Ecology | Year: 2010

There is concern that secondary forests dominated by introduced species, known as novel forests, increase taxonomical similarity between localities and lead to biotic homogenization in human-dominated landscapes. In Puerto Rico, agricultural abandonment has given way to novel forests dominated by the introduced African tulip tree Spathodea campanulata Beauv. (Bignoniaceae). In this study, I characterized the tree species composition of S. campanulata forests in Puerto Rico as means to evaluate if biotic homogenization is occurring. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was used to examine what variables were related to the large (≥10 cm diameter at breast height [DBH]), small (≥2.5 to <10 cm DBH), and juvenile (<2.5 cm DBH) tree species composition of 20 sites. Species composition was strongly related to substrate properties, less related to land use history, and unrelated to spatial attributes. The introduced species component was low (mean = 17%, S. E. = 1.8) and compositional differences were mostly due to native tree species of secondary to old growth forests on equivalent substrates. Animals appear to disperse most species (86%) into these forests yet because of this some introduced species will persist. Although uncommon species were largely absent, recent species establishment is shaped by substrate properties making biotic homogenization in these forests unlikely. The S. campanulata forests of Puerto Rico facilitate native tree species establishment in lands where poor management practices extirpated the original forest. These results highlight the importance of remnant old growth forests or trees that act as seed dispersal sources and facilitate native species recovery in novel forests. © 2010 US Government Employee.

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