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Allometry, biomass, and chemical content of Novel African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) Forests in Puerto Rico

Abstract

The African tulip tree, Spathodea campanulata, the most common tree in Puerto Rico, forms novel forest types with mixtures of native and other introduced tree species. Novel forests increase in area in response to human activity and there is no information about their biomass accumulation and nutrient cycling. We established allometric relationships and chemically analyzed plant parts of African tulip trees to determine the concentration and standing stock of chemical elements (C, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Mn, Al, Fe, Na), and ash. Trees ranged in diameter at breast height from 8 to 85 cm and in height from 8.8 to 28 m. The concentrations of N, P, K, and Ca in leaves of the African tulip tree were similar to those of the native pioneer Cecropia schreberiana and higher than those of mature forest tree species in Puerto Rico. The over bark wood volume of African tulip trees in nine forest stands where it was dominant ranged from 163 to 849 m3/ha. Aboveground biomass ranged from 60 to 296 Mg/ha, and N and P stocks ranged from 190 to 988 and 32 to 137 kg/ha, respectively. Novel forests on abandoned agricultural lands can store more biomass and elements than native and plantation forest stands of similar age.

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Acknowledgments

This study was part of a summer field course of the National Science Foundation ALACIMA program of the University of Puerto Rico. All authors participated in the planning and execution of fieldwork, and data analysis and interpretation. The two senior authors wrote the manuscript. We thank Josefina Arce, Lucy Gaspar, Brenda Santiago, Angie Rivera and Elieser Nieves for making this study possible. We also thank Iván Vicéns, Carlos Torrens, Carlos Estrada, and Humberto Robles for their collaboration with the harvesting of trees. Mary Jean Sánchez collaborated with the synthesis of chemical data for Puerto Rican trees. We express gratitude to Jaime Díaz and his parents, the Díaz Rivera family, for allowing the harvesting of trees in their farm and helping us during the fieldwork. Mildred Alayón collaborated with the editing of the manuscript and two anonymous reviewers and the following colleagues reviewed the manuscript: F.N. Scatena, F.H. Wadsworth, E. López, E. Medina, and M.J. Sánchez. The study was done in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico.

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Correspondence to Ariel E. Lugo.

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Lugo, A.E., Abelleira, O.J., Collado, A. et al. Allometry, biomass, and chemical content of Novel African Tulip Tree (Spathodea campanulata) Forests in Puerto Rico. New Forests 42, 267 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11056-011-9258-8

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Keywords

  • Nutrient concentration
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Stemwood volume
  • Biomass
  • Carbon
  • Introduced species
  • Puerto Rico
  • Secondary forests
  • Novel forests