Characteristics of Old-Growth and Secondary Forests in Relation to Age and Typhoon Disturbance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many properties of forest ecosystems, such as species composition and forest structure, naturally vary with forest age. However, in regions prone to cyclone disturbances, both forest age and cyclone severities can play a role shaping these properties. To evaluate potential effects of an altered cyclone regime on forest ecosystems, it is necessary to disentangle the roles of cyclones and forest age on different forest characteristics. In this study, we compared species composition and forest structure at plot level across sites with similar climate and topographic backgrounds, yet differing in age and typhoon severities in northeastern Taiwan. We found shorter tree stature, higher wood density, higher tree species diversity, and lower typhoon-induced tree mortality in the sites with more severe typhoon disturbances. On the other hand, regardless of typhoon severity, the sites of younger ages had a considerably smaller amount of woody debris, suggesting that it takes time for the accumulation of woody debris. More typhoon-induced canopy gaps at sites with more severe typhoon influences highlights a role of typhoons in canopy dynamics. However, the lack of gaps prior to typhoon disturbances in the less severely affected forest is likely related to the low background mortality associated with the relative young age of the forest. Our results indicate that frequent or severe typhoon disturbances can homogenize some of the structural differences among forests of different ages. If the frequency or severity of cyclones increase in the future, many forests, including old-growth forests, may gradually lose large trees.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1521-1532
Number of pages12
JournalEcosystems
Volume21
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1

Fingerprint

old-growth forest
old-growth forests
secondary forest
typhoon
secondary forests
disturbance
cyclone
Debris
Ecosystems
woody debris
species diversity
Biodiversity
forest ecosystems
forest ecosystem
Chemical analysis
typhoons
Wood
mortality
canopy gap
canopy gaps

Keywords

  • Fushan Experimental Forest
  • canopy gap
  • coarse woody debris
  • forest age
  • forest stature
  • typhoon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

Cite this

Characteristics of Old-Growth and Secondary Forests in Relation to Age and Typhoon Disturbance. / Lin, Shin Yu; Lee, Pei-Jen; Lin, Teng-Chiu.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 21, No. 8, 01.12.2018, p. 1521-1532.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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