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Rapid Recovery of Biomass, Species Richness, and Species Composition in a Forest Chronosequence in Northeastern Costa Rica

Rapid Recovery of Biomass, Species Richness, and Species Composition in a Forest Chronosequence... ABSTRACT Secondary forests are a vital part of the tropical landscape, and their worldwide extent and importance continues to increase. Here, we present the largest chronosequence data set on forest succession in the wet tropics that includes both secondary and old‐growth sites. We performed 0.1 ha vegetation inventories in 30 sites in northeastern Costa Rica, including seven old‐growth forests and 23 secondary forests on former pastures, ranging from 10 to 42 yr. The secondary forest sites were formerly pasture for intervals of <1–25 yr. Aboveground biomass in secondary forests recovered rapidly, with sites already exhibiting values comparable to old growth after 21–30 yr, and biomass accumulation was not impacted by the length of time that a site was in pasture. Species richness reached old‐growth levels in as little as 30 yr, although sites that were in pasture for > 10 yr had significantly lower species richness. Forest cover near the sites at the time of forest establishment did not significantly impact biomass or species richness, and the species composition of older secondary forest sites (>30 yr) converged with that of old growth. These results emphasize the resilience of tropical ecosystems in this region and the high conservation value of secondary forests. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biotropica Wiley

Rapid Recovery of Biomass, Species Richness, and Species Composition in a Forest Chronosequence in Northeastern Costa Rica

Biotropica , Volume 41 (5) – Sep 1, 2009

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References (116)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2009 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2009 by The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
ISSN
0006-3606
eISSN
1744-7429
DOI
10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00517.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

ABSTRACT Secondary forests are a vital part of the tropical landscape, and their worldwide extent and importance continues to increase. Here, we present the largest chronosequence data set on forest succession in the wet tropics that includes both secondary and old‐growth sites. We performed 0.1 ha vegetation inventories in 30 sites in northeastern Costa Rica, including seven old‐growth forests and 23 secondary forests on former pastures, ranging from 10 to 42 yr. The secondary forest sites were formerly pasture for intervals of <1–25 yr. Aboveground biomass in secondary forests recovered rapidly, with sites already exhibiting values comparable to old growth after 21–30 yr, and biomass accumulation was not impacted by the length of time that a site was in pasture. Species richness reached old‐growth levels in as little as 30 yr, although sites that were in pasture for > 10 yr had significantly lower species richness. Forest cover near the sites at the time of forest establishment did not significantly impact biomass or species richness, and the species composition of older secondary forest sites (>30 yr) converged with that of old growth. These results emphasize the resilience of tropical ecosystems in this region and the high conservation value of secondary forests.

Journal

BiotropicaWiley

Published: Sep 1, 2009

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