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01.03.2011 | Ausgabe 1/2011

Urban Ecosystems 1/2011

Structure and composition of woody plants in urban forest remnants with different adjacent land-use and slope aspect

Zeitschrift:
Urban Ecosystems > Ausgabe 1/2011
Autoren:
Javier Lugo-Pérez, Alberto M. Sabat-Guérnica

Abstract

The plant community in the karst forest is influenced by mesoclimatic conditions, such as temperature and humidity and these conditions are in turn influenced by topographic features. Urban areas adjacent to karstic forest remnants also have the potential to influence mesoclimatic variables and may serve as a source of exotic species. We described the temperature and relative humidity of karstic forest remnants at slopes with combinations of either southeast (SE) or northwest (NW) aspect, and adjacent to either urban (URB) or secondary forest (SF). We also compared forest structure and composition on these slopes to understand the interaction between forest aspect and adjacent land use on the plant community. URB-SE slopes had highest temperature and lowest humidity among all adjacent land use-aspect combinations. Understory species in SE slopes had similar richness and diversity independently of adjacent land use, however within NW aspect, slopes adjacent to urban areas showed higher values than slopes adjacent secondary forest. Canopy trees species in slopes adjacent to secondary forest were more diverse and rich in SE than in NW, although no differences between aspects were detected within URB-adjacent slopes. Understory species composition was different among the four land use-aspect combinations. However, composition of canopy trees species was different only between aspect types. Most exotic species in the sites were associated with previous agricultural practices and not with current land use. Our results show a temporal and spatial influence of anthropogenic systems on the plant community in karstic forest remnants at a suburban area of Puerto Rico.

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