Impacts of wind disturbance on fragmented tropical forests: a review and synthesis

Laurance, William F., and Curran, Timothy J. (2008) Impacts of wind disturbance on fragmented tropical forests: a review and synthesis. Austral Ecology, 33 (4). pp. 399-408.

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Wind disturbance is an important ecological force in the tropics, especially in the cyclonic and hurricane zones from about 7-20 degrees latitude. Damage from intense winds may be especially severe in fragmented forests because of their abrupt artificial margins and denuded surrounding landscapes. We review available information on the effects of windstorms on fragmented forests, synthesizing studies from Australasia, Amazonia and elsewhere in the tropics. Wind damage in fragmented landscapes can be influenced by a range of factors, such as forest-edge orientation, edge structure, the size of nearby clearings and local topography. We argue that wind disturbances are likely to interact with, and exacerbate, a range of deleterious environmental changes in fragmented forests. Among the most important of these are altered forest structure, shifts in plant species composition, exotic-plant invasions, reduced carbon storage and elevated vulnerability to fire. The damaging impacts of winds on fragmented forests could potentially increase in the future, particularly if global warming leads to increasingly severe or frequent windstorms.

Item ID: 26725
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1442-9993
Keywords: edge effect, forest dynamics, habitat fragmentation, plant functional trait, windstorm resistance, resilience
Funders: National Geographic Society, CSIRO Tropical Forest Research Centre, Smithsonian Institute, School for Field Studies
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 11:04
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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