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Seed and Seedling Bank Dynamics in Secondary Forests Following Hurricane Georges in Puerto Rico

Summary: Seed and Seedling Bank Dynamics in Secondary Forests Following
Hurricane Georges in Puerto Rico
Biology Department, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. BOX 23360, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-3360. 1
author, present address: Laboratorio de Investigaciones EcoloŽgicas de las Yungas (LIEY), Universidad Nacional de
TucumaŽn, C.C. 34 Yerba Buena (4107), TucumaŽn, Argentina.
liey@tucbbs.com.ar. tmaide@yahoo.com
ABSTRACT.--This study describes the effect of Hurricane Georges (September, 1998) on the dynamics of
seed and seedling banks in young secondary forests (25 yr) and mature secondary forests (60 yr) in aban-
doned pasture lands in Puerto Rico. In eight secondary forest sites, the seed bank was sampled in July 1998
and July 1999, and the seedling bank was sampled in November 1998 and November 1999. We collected data
on number of species and individuals. In the seedling bank, mortality, recruitment and growth rate were
estimated for one year. Hurricane damage was estimated for each site. The data suggest that sites in early
stages of succession receive less damage from hurricane-force winds than older sites. As a consequence, after
a hurricane later stages of succession present high light conditions, which result in high growth rate of
pioneer and non-pioneer species. Although high light conditions may enhance seed germination from the
seed bank, recruitment was low, and most post-hurricane regeneration came from pre-established individu-


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


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology