Impacts of Hurricanes on Forest Hydrology and Biogeochemistry

Chapter
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 216)

Abstract

Hurricanes, typhoons, tropical cyclones, and other tropical storms affect many areas of the globe. Although the names used vary regionally, here I will refer to hurricanes to describe the impacts of these tropical storms globally. The intensity and frequency of hurricanes vary dramatically in different areas of the globe, but their origins are always in warm tropical waters such as the North Atlantic off the African coast, or the central Pacific Ocean. Hurricanes result from the interaction of heated sea water with global wind circulation patterns to create a contained meteorological system with persistent cyclonic circulation rotating around a low-pressure center (Fig. 32.1). Hurricanes initially arise from tropical storms with incomplete circulation, and as they grow in strength the circulation (counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, clockwise in the Southern) closes with an “eye” in the center. Once the circulation is complete, the system is referred to as a hurricane if wind speeds exceed 119 km h−1. Each hurricane has both a speed (the rate at which the storm is moving across the face of the earth) and a strength (the velocity of the cyclonic circulation). The strength of the hurricane changes over time, and usually declines after initial landfall. Damage to forests is typically a function of the hurricane strength, which determines the likelihood of both damage to trees and the storm surges that can occur in low-lying coastal areas. Hurricanes are often associated with high rains, with totals of 25 cm or more.

References

  1. Beard KH, Vogt KA, Vogt DJ et al (2005) Structural and functional responses of a subtropical forest to 10 years of hurricanes and droughts. Ecol Monogr 75:345–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blood ER, Anderson P, Smith PA et al (1991) Effects of Hurricane Hugo on coastal soil solution chemistry in South Carolina. Biotropica 23:348–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bormann FH, Likens GE (1967) Nutrient cycling. Science 155:424–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowden RD, Castro MS, Melillo JM et al (1993) Fluxes of greenhouse gases between soils and the atmosphere in a temperate forest following a simulated hurricane blowdown. Biogeochemistry 21:61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Emanuel K (2005) Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature 436:686–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Erickson HE, Ayala G (2004) Hurricane-induced nitrous oxide fluxes from a wet tropical forest. Glob Change Biol 10:1155–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gardner LR, Michener WK, Williams TM et al (1992) Disturbance effects of Hurricane Hugo on a pristine coastal landscape: North Inlet, South Carolina, USA. Neth J Sea Res 30:249–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goldenberg SB, Landsea CW, Mestas-Nuñez AM et al (2001) The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: causes and implications. Science 293:474–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hasselquist NJ, Santiago LS, Allen MF (2010) Belowground nitrogen dynamics in relation to hurricane damage along a tropical dry forest chronosequence. Biogeochemistry 98:89–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Heartsill-Scalley T, Scatena FN, Estrada C et al (2007) Disturbance and long-term patterns of rainfall and throughfall nutrient fluxes in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico. J Hydrol 333:472–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Heartsill-Scalley T, Scatena FN, Lugo AE et al (2010) Changes in structure, composition, and nutrients during 15 years of hurricane-induced succession in a subtropical wet forest in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 42:455–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Herbert DA, Fownes JH, Vitousek PM (1999) Hurricane damage to a Hawaiian forest: nutrient supply rate affects resistance and resilience. Ecology 80:908–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hornbeck JW, Adams MB, Corbett ES et al (1993) Long-term impacts of forest treatments on water yield: a summary for northeastern USA. J Hydrol 150:323–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hubbart JA, Link TE, Gravelle JA et al (2007) Timber harvest impacts on water yield in the continental/maritime hydroclimatic region of the United States. For Sci 53:169–180Google Scholar
  15. Lodge DJ, McDowell WH (1991) Summary of ecosystem-level effects of Caribbean hurricanes. Biotropica 23:373–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lodge DJ, Scatena FN, Asbury CE et al (1991) Fine litterfall and related nutrient inputs resulting from Hurricane Hugo in subtropical wet and lower montane rain forests of Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:336–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lugo AE (2008) Visible and invisible effects of hurricanes on forest ecosystems: an international review. Austral Ecol 33:368–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Matson PA, McDowell WH, Townsend AR et al (1999) The globalization of N deposition: ecosystem consequences in tropical environments. Biogeochemistry 46:67–83Google Scholar
  19. McDowell WH (1998) Internal nutrient fluxes in a tropical rain forest. J Trop Ecol 14:521–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McDowell WH (2001) Hurricanes, people, and riparian zones: controls on nutrient losses from forested Caribbean watersheds. For Ecol Manage 154:443–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McDowell WH, McSwiney CP, Bowden WB (1996) Effects of hurricane disturbance on groundwater chemistry and riparian function in a tropical rain forest. Biotropica 28:577–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Parrotta JA, Lodge DJ (1991) Fine root dynamics in a subtropical wet forest following hurricane disturbance in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:343–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Patric JH (1974) River flow increases in central New England after the hurricane of 1938. J For 72:21–25Google Scholar
  24. Sakihama H, Tokuyama A (2005) Effect of typhoon on chemical composition of rainwater in Okinawa Island, Japan. Atmos Environ 39:2879–2888CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Scatena FN, Larsen MC (1991) Physical aspects of Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 23:317–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schaefer DA, McDowell WH, Scatena FN et al (2000) Effects of hurricane disturbance on stream water concentrations and fluxes in eight tropical forest watersheds of the Luquillo Experimental Forest. J Trop Ecol 16:189–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Silver WL, Vogt KA (1993) Fine root dynamics following single and multiple disturbances in a subtropical wet forest ecosystem. J Ecol 81:729–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Steudler PA, Melillo JM, Bowden RD et al (1991) The effects of natural and human disturbances on soil nitrogen dynamics and trace gas fluxes in a Puerto Rican wet forest. Biotropica 23:356–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tsai C-J, Lin T-C, Hwong J-L et al (2009) Typhoon impacts on stream water chemistry in a plantation and an adjacent natural forest in central Taiwan. J Hydrol 378:290–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vargas R, Allen MF (2008) Diel patterns of soil respiration in a tropical forest after Hurricane Wilma. J Geophys Res 113:G03021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Vargas R, Hasselquist N, Allen EB et al (2010) Effects of a hurricane disturbance on aboveground forest structure, arbuscular mycorrhizae and belowground carbon in a restored tropical forest. Ecosystems 13:118–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Webster PJ, Holland GJ, Curry JA et al (2005) Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment. Science 309:1844–1846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhang Z, Fukushima T, Onda Y et al (2007) Nutrient runoff from forested watersheds in central Japan during typhoon storms: implications for understanding runoff mechanisms during storm events. Hydrol Process 21:1167–1178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zimmerman JK, Pulliam WM, Lodge DJ et al (1995) Nitrogen immobilization by decomposing woody debris and the recovery of tropical wet forest from hurricane damage. Oikos 72:314–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources and the EnvironmentUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations