Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Patrick H. Martin

Second Advisor

Anna A. Sher

Third Advisor

Shannon M. Murphy

Keywords

Dominican Republic, Tropicale montane forest, Forests, Climate change

Abstract

Owing to the geographic isolation and unique climatic conditions which occur in tropical montane forests (TMFs), these systems are highly sensitive to changes in both climate and disturbance. Therefore, as ongoing climate change alters disturbance regimes – potentially facilitating multiple disturbance interactions much greater than that of isolated disturbances – TMFs may be shifted to alternate stable states. However, study of TMF resilience is essentially unknown given the lack of long-term studies in these systems. We address the resiliency of the tropical montane pine forests of the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic using long-term climate records, remeasured vegetation data, and reconstructed hurricane and fire disturbances. We found that drought and hurricane damage were important factors leading to higher-severity fires, but that overall forest resilience is robust. We conclude that climate change, changing fire behavior, and prior hurricane damage have all interacted to alter the future ecology of these tropical montane pine forests.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Provenance

Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Daniel Erland Brugger Swann

File size

98 pgs

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Ecology

Available for download on Wednesday, April 19, 2023

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