Hurricane Impacts to Tropical and Temperate Forest Landscapes
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CitationBoose, Emery R., David R. Foster, and Marcheterre Fluet. 1994. Hurricane Impacts to Tropical and Temperate Forest Landscapes. Ecological Monographs 64, no. 4: 369–400. Portico. doi:10.2307/2937142.
AbstractHurricanes represent an important natural disturbance process to tropical and temperate forests in many coastal areas of the world. The complex patterns of damage created in forests by hurricane winds result from the interaction of meteorological, physiographic, and biotic factors on a range of spatial scales. To improve our understanding of these factors and of the role of catastrophic hurricane wind as a disturbance process, we take an integrative approach. A simple meteorological model (HURRECON) utilizes meteorological data to reconstruct wind conditions at specific sites and regional gradients in wind speed and direction during a hurricane. A simple topographic exposure model (EXPOS) utilizes wind direction predicted by HURRECON and a digital elevation map to estimate landscape—level exposure to the strongest winds. Actual damage to forest stands is assessed through analysis of remotely sensed, historical, and field data. These techniques were used to evaluate the characteristics and impacts of two important hurricanes: Hurricane Hugo (1989) in Puerto Rico and the 1938 New England Hurricane, storms of comparable magnitude in regions that differ greatly in climate, vegetation, physiography, and disturbance regimes. In both cases patterns of damage on a regional scale were found to agree with the predicted distribution of peak wind gust velocities. On a landscape there was also good agreement between patterns of forest damage and predicted exposure in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico and the town of Petersham, Massachusetts. At the Harvard and Pisgah Forests in central New England the average orientation of wind—thrown trees was very close to the predicted peak wind direction, while at Luquillo there was also good agreement, with some apparent modification of wind direction by the mountainous terrain. At Harvard Forest there was evidence that trees more susceptible to windthrow were felled earlier in the storm. This approach may be used to study the effects of topography on wind direction and the relation of forest damage to wind speed and duration; to establish broad—scale gradients of hurricane frequency, intensity, and wind direction for particular regions; and to determine landscape—level exposure to long—term hurricane disturbance at particular sites.
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