Ecosystems

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 286–301 | Cite as

A Canopy Trimming Experiment in Puerto Rico: The Response of Litter Invertebrate Communities to Canopy Loss and Debris Deposition in a Tropical Forest Subject to Hurricanes

  • Barbara A. Richardson
  • Michael J. Richardson
  • Grizelle González
  • Aaron B. Shiels
  • Diane S. Srivastava
Article

Abstract

Hurricanes cause canopy removal and deposition of pulses of litter to the forest floor. A Canopy Trimming Experiment (CTE) was designed to decouple these two factors, and to investigate the separate abiotic and biotic consequences of hurricane-type damage and monitor recovery processes. As part of this experiment, effects on forest floor invertebrate communities were studied using litterbags. Canopy opening resulted in increased throughfall, soil moisture and light levels, but decreased litter moisture. Of these, only throughfall and soil moisture had returned to control levels 9 months after trimming. Canopy opening was the major determinant of adverse changes in forest floor invertebrate litter communities, by reducing diversity and biomass, irrespective of debris deposition, which played a secondary role. Plots subjected to the most disturbance, with canopy removed and debris added, had the lowest diversity and biomass. These two parameters were higher than control levels when debris was added to plots with an intact canopy, demonstrating that increased nutrient potential or habitat complexity can have a beneficial effect, but only if the abiotic conditions are suitable. Animal abundance remained similar over all treatments, because individual taxa responded differently to canopy trimming. Mites, Collembola, and Psocoptera, all microbiovores feeding mainly on fungal hyphae and spores, responded positively, with higher abundance in trimmed plots, whereas all other taxa, particularly predators and larger detritivores, declined in relative abundance. Litterbag mesh size and litter type had only minor effects on communities, and canopy trimming and debris deposition explained most variation between sites. Effects of trimming on diversity, biomass, and abundance of some invertebrate taxa were still seen when observations finished and canopy closure was complete at 19 months. This suggests that disturbance has a long-lasting effect on litter communities and may, therefore, delay detrital processing, depending on the severity of canopy damage and rate of regrowth.

Keywords

canopy gaps community composition forest manipulation fungi litterbags relative abundance 

References

  1. Boose ER, Serrano MI, Foster DR. 2004. Landscape and regional impacts of hurricanes in Puerto Rico. Ecol Monogr 74:335–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Borror DJ, Triplehorn CA, Johnson NF, Eds. 1989. An introduction to the study of insects. 6th edn. Philadelphia, USA: Saunders College Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Bradford MA, Tordoff GM, Eggers T, Jones TH, Newington JE. 2002. Microbiota, fauna, and mesh size interactions in litter decomposition. Oikos 99:317–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown S, Lugo AE, Silander S, Liegel L. 1983. Research history and opportunities in the Luquillo experimental forest. New Orleans: USFS Gen Tech Rep SO-44, Southern Forest Experiment Station.Google Scholar
  5. Cassagne N, Gauquellin T, Bal-Serin C, Gers C. 2006. Endemic Collembola—privileged bioindicators of forest management. Pedobiolgia 50:127–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dindal DL, Ed. 1990. Soil biology guide. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  7. Fernández DS, Fetcher N. 1991. Changes in light availability following Hurricane Hugo in a subtropical montane forest in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:393–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fonte SJ, Schowalter TD. 2004. Decomposition of greenfall vs. senescent foliage in a tropical forest ecosystem in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 36:474–82.Google Scholar
  9. Foster DR, Boose ER. 1992. Patterns of forest damage resulting from catastrophic wind in central New England, USA. J Ecol 80:79–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Franklin E, Hayek T, Fagundes EP, Silva LL. 2004. Oribatid mite (Acari: Oribatida) contribution to decomposition dynamic of leaf litter in primary forest, second growth, and polyculture in the Central Amazon. Brazilian J Biol 64:59–72.Google Scholar
  11. Frazer GW, Canham CD. 1999. Gap light analyzer, 2.0. Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada: Simon Fraser University.Google Scholar
  12. García-Martinó AR, Warner GS, Scatena FN, Civco DL. 1996. Rainfall, runoff and elevation relationships in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Caribbean J Sci 32:413–24.Google Scholar
  13. Garrison RW, Willig MR. 1996. Arboreal invertebrates. In: Reagan DP, Waide RB, Eds. The food web of a tropical rain forest. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p 183–245.Google Scholar
  14. Greenberg CH, Forrest TG. 2003. Seasonal abundance of ground-occurring macroarthropods in forest and canopy gaps in the southern Appalachians. Southeast Nat 2:591–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Holler JR, Cowley GT. 1970. Response of soil, root, and litter microfungal populations to radiation. In: Odum HT, Pigeon RF, Eds. A tropical rain forest. Springfield, Virginia, USA: TID-24270, Office of Information Services, US Atomic Energy Commission, NTIS. p F35–9.Google Scholar
  16. Illig J, Schatz H, Scheu S, Maraun M. 2008. Decomposition and colonization by micro-arthropods of two litter types in a tropical montane forest in southern Ecuador. J Trop Ecol 24:1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lawrence WT. 1996. Plants: the food base. In: Reagan DP, Waide RB, Eds. The food web of a tropical rain forest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p 17–51.Google Scholar
  18. Lin K-C, Hamburg SP, Tang S-L, Hsia Y-J, Lin T-C. 2003. Typhoon effects on litterfall in a subtropical forest. Can J For Res 33:2184–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lodge DJ. 1996. Microorganisms. In: Reagan DP, Waide RB, Eds. The food web of a tropical rain forest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p 53–108.Google Scholar
  20. Lodge DJ, Scatena FN, Asbury CE, Sanchez MJ. 1991. Fine litterfall and related nutrient inputs resulting from Hurricane Hugo in subtropical wet and lower montane rain forests in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:336–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lugo AE, Scatena FN. 1996. Background and catastrophic tree mortality in tropical moist, wet, and rainforest. Biotropica 28:585–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Magurran AE. 2004. Measuring biological diversity. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Merritt RW, Cummins KW, Eds. 1984. An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.Google Scholar
  24. Miller RM, Lodge DJ. 2007. Fungal responses to disturbance—agriculture and forestry. In: Esser K, Kubicek P, Druzhinina IS, Eds. The Mycota, Vol. IV: environmental and microbial relationships. 2nd edn. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. p 44–67.Google Scholar
  25. Newell K. 1984. Interaction between two decomposer basidiomycetes and a collembolan under Sitka spruce: grazing and its potential effects on fungal distribution and litter decomposition. Soil Biol Biochem 16:235–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Niemela J, Langor D, Spence JR. 1993. Effects of clear-trimmed harvesting on boreal ground beetle assemblages (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Western Canada. Conserv Biol 7:551–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Odum HT, Pigeon RF, Eds. 1970. A tropical rain forest: a study of irradiation and ecology at El Verde, Puerto Rico. Springfield, Virginia, USA: TID-24270, Office of Information Services, US Atomic Energy Commission, NTIS.Google Scholar
  28. Ostertag R, Scatena FN, Silver WL. 2003. Forest floor decomposition following hurricane litter inputs in several Puerto Rican forests. Ecosystems 6:261–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pfieffer WJ. 1996. Litter invertebrates. In: Reagan DP, Waide RB, Eds. The food web of a tropical rain forest. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p 137–81.Google Scholar
  30. Reagan DP, Waide RB, Eds. 1996. The food web of a tropical rain forest. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. Richardson BA, Richardson MJ, Scatena FN, McDowell WH. 2000. Effects of nutrient availability and other elevational changes on bromeliad populations and their invertebrate communities in a humid tropical forest in Puerto Rico. J Trop Ecol 16:167–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Richardson BA, Richardson MJ, Soto-Adames FN. 2005. Separating the effects of forest type and elevation on the diversity of litter invertebrate communities in a humid tropical forest in Puerto Rico. J Anim Ecol 74:926–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rivera-Figueroa F. 2008. Efecto De Un Disturbio Natural En El Perfil De Ácidos Grasos De Comunidades Microbianas En El Bosque Experimental De Luquillo En Puerto Rico. Master’s Thesis, Universidad Del Turabo, Puerto Rico.Google Scholar
  34. Ruiz N, Lavelle P, Jimenez J. 2008. Soil macrofauna field manual. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  35. Rusek J. 1998. Biodiversity of Collembola and their functional role in the ecosystem. Biodivers Conserv 7:1207–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sanford RL, Parton WJ, Ojima DS, Lodge DJ. 1991. Hurricane effects on soil organic matter dynamics and forest production in the Luquillo experimental forest, Puerto Rico: results of simulation modelling. Biotropica 23:364–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sayer EJ, Tanner EVJ, Lacey AL. 2006. Effects of litter manipulation on early-stage decomposition and meso-arthropod abundance in a tropical moist forest. Forest Ecol Manag 229:285–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Scatena F, Larsen MC. 1991. Physical aspects of Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:317–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Scatena F, Moya S, Estrada C, Chinea JD. 1996. The first five years in the reorganisation of aboveground biomass and nutrient use following Hurricane Hugo in the Bisley experimental watersheds, Luquillo experimental forest, Puerto Rico. Biotropica 28:424–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schneider K, Maraun M. 2005. Feeding preferences among dark pigmented fungal taxa (“Dematiacea”) indicate limited trophic niche differentiation of oribatid mites (Oribatida, Acari). Pedobiologia 49:61–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stehr FW, Ed. 1987. Immature insects. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.Google Scholar
  42. Stehr FW, Ed. 1991. Immature insects, Vol. 2. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.Google Scholar
  43. Tanner EVJ. 1981. The decomposition of leaf litter in Jamaican montane rain forests. J Ecol 69:263–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Turner EC, Foster WA. 2009. The impact of forest conversion to oil palm on arthropod abundance and biomass in Sabah, Malaysia. J Trop Ecol 25:23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Van Bloem SJ, Murphy PG, Lugo AE, Ostertag R, Riviera Costa M, Bernard IR, Molina Colón S, Mora MC. 2005. The influence of hurricane winds on Caribbean dry forest structure and nutrient pools. Biotropica 37:571–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Visser S, Whittaker JB. 1977. Feeding preferences for certain litter fungi by Onychiurus subtenuis (Collembola). Oikos 29:320–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Walker LR. 1991. Tree damage and recovery from Hurricane Hugo in Luquillo experimental forest, Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:379–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Walsh PD, Henschel P, Abernethy KA. 2004. Logging speeds little red fire ant invasion of Africa. Biotropica 36:637–41.Google Scholar
  49. Wigham DF, Olmsted I, Cabrera Cano E, Harmon ME. 1991. The impact of hurricane Gilbert on trees, litterfall, and woody debris in a dry tropical forest in the Northeastern Yucatan Peninsula. Biotropica 23:434–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zalamea M, González G. 2008. Leaffall phenology in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico: from species to community patterns. Biotropica 40:295–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zou X, Zucca CP, Waide RB, McDowell WH. 1995. Long-term influence of deforestation on tree species composition and litter dynamics of a tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico. Forest Ecology and Management 78:147–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara A. Richardson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael J. Richardson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Grizelle González
    • 3
  • Aaron B. Shiels
    • 4
    • 5
  • Diane S. Srivastava
    • 6
  1. 1.EdinburghUK
  2. 2.Luquillo LTER, Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies, University of Puerto Rico at Rıo PiedrasSan JuanUSA
  3. 3.International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Jardín Botánico SurSan JuanUSA
  4. 4.Institute for Tropical Ecosystem StudiesUniversity of Puerto Rico at Río PiedrasSan JuanUSA
  5. 5.University of Hawai`i at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  6. 6.Department of Zoology and Biodiversity Research CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations