Edge effects of linear canopy openings on tropical rain forest understory microclimate

Pohlman, Catherine L., Turton, Stephen M., and Goosem, Miriam (2007) Edge effects of linear canopy openings on tropical rain forest understory microclimate. Biotropica, 39 (1). pp. 62-71.

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We investigated microclimatic edge gradients associated with grassy powerlines, paved highways and perennial creeks in wet tropical forest in northeastern Australia during wet and dry seasons. Photosynthetically active radiation, air temperature and vapor pressure deficit, soil temperature, canopy temperature, soil moisture, and air speed in the rain forest understory were measured during traverses perpendicular to the forest edge. Light intensity was elevated near the edges of powerlines, highways, and creeks, but this effect was strongest for creek edges. Air temperature and vapor pressure deficit were elevated near powerline edges in the dry season and highway edges in both wet and dry seasons but were not elevated near creek edges in either season. In contrast, soil moisture was lowered near creek edges but not near either powerline or highway edges. No edge gradients were detected for air speed. Canopy temperature was elevated near highway edges and lowered near powerline edges in the wet season but no edge gradients in canopy temperature were detected near creek edges in either the wet or the dry season. We suggest that these different edge gradients may be largely the result of differences in the fluxes of latent and sensible heat within each type of linear canopy opening, with periodic flood disturbance assisting by maintaining a more open canopy near creek edges. Our data indicate that the nature of the linear canopy opening is at least as important as the width in determining the nature and severity of microclimatic edge effects, analogous to the "matrix effect" of traditional fragmentation studies.

Item ID: 2227
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1744-7429
Keywords: highway; internal fragmentation; northeastern Australia; photosynthetically active radiation; powerlines; soil moisture; stream; temperature; tropical rain forest; vapor pressure deficit
Date Deposited: 28 May 2009 22:12
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 51%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 49%
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