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|Damage and recovery of forest structure and composition after two subsequent hurricanes in the Yucatan Peninsula|
|Hurricanes are important disturbances shaping tropical forest structure. In the last 35 years the frequency and intensity of these events have changed, and it is predicted that intense hurricanes will become even more frequent with continued ocean surface warming. In 2005, the northeastern region of the Yucatan peninsula was hit by two subsequent category-5 hurricanes (3 months apart), Emily and Wilma. I conducted vegetation surveys to evaluate forest structure and composition soon after each disturbance and after one year, determining number of species, number of stems, basal area, and type of impact presented (defoliated, snapped, or uprooted), for all stems ≥ 5 cm DBH in two different forest stand ages (8-15 yr and > 30 yr). Number of species and basal area varied by forest stand age and survey; stem density decreased after the hurricanes. The highest percentage of damaged individuals was after the second hurricane (60%), but one year later this percentage was greatly reduced (13%).|
In all surveys, defoliation was the most common damage and uprooting the least common. In general, larger trees suffered more uprooting and snapping than did smaller ones. The importance value of most common species remained similar over time but increased for a few late successional species by the final survey. This forest showed a high degree of recovery to multiple disturbances, reflecting a long history of adaptation to these events.
|Caribbean Journal of Science|
|Bonilla-Moheno M. 2010. Damage and recovery of forest structure and composition after two subsequent hurricanes in the Yucatan Peninsula. Caribbean Journal of Science. 46 (2-3): 240-248.|
|BIOLOGÍA Y QUÍMICA|
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