Forest vegetation cover assessment on Mona Island, Puerto Rico
Permanent plots were installed on the Mona Island natural reserve as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s forest vegetation assessment and monitoring efforts in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In addition to tree, sapling, and seedling measurements, the data collected included detailed descriptions of percent cover of vascular plants in four height layers (0–0.6 m, >0.6–1.8 m, >1.8–4.9 m, and >4.9 m) and percent ground cover. Based on these data we provide the first description of the structural characteristics, species composition, and vegetative cover of plant associations that stems from a systematic sample extending across the entire Mona Island plateau. We encountered 104 vascular plant species, however, suggesting that our surveys missed less common and sparsely distributed species. Though we also describe depression forests, they were represented by only a few sites in our systematic sample design. These data plus those that will come from future plot remeasurement will provide baseline information otherwise lacking for Caribbean subtropical dry forest ecosystems and will be of value to stakeholders and resource managers charged with management decision-making on this unique island.