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Plant Ecology 145: 307315, 1999. 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

Summary: Plant Ecology 145: 307­315, 1999.
© 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Patterns of litter production across a salinity gradient in a Pterocarpus
officinalis tropical wetland
Ana Maria Eusse & T. Mitchell Aide
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR 00931-3360, USA, (E-mail:
Received 10 December 1997; accepted in revised form 14 July 1999
Key words: Forested wetlands, Productivity, Puerto Rico, Tropics
Historically, Pterocarpus officinalis Jacq. (Leguminoseae) dominated freshwater wetlands in the coastal plains of
Puerto Rico, but deforestation has reduced its distribution to small patches adjacent to mangrove forests in areas
of higher salinity. The objective of this study was to determine how a gradient in soil salinity affected litter, flower,
and fruit production in a Pterocarpus officinalis. Three 100 m2 plots were established in each of three sites along a
salinity gradient: pasture/Pterocarpus edge (low salinity, mean salinity at 60 cm­9.7 g Kg-1), Pterocarpus forest
(intermediate salinity, 11.5 g Kg-1) and a Pterocarpus/mangrove ecotone (high salinity, 15.0 g Kg-1). Across this
gradient, P. officinalis accounted for 100% of the relative basal area in the low and intermediate sites and 43% in
the high salinity site which was domimated by Laguncularia racemosa. The basal area of P. officinalis decreased
along the gradient from 73.5 m2 ha-1 in the low salinity site to 42.0 m2 ha-1 in the high salinity site. Litterfall was


Source: Aide, Mitchell - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology