On the Shoulders of Giants: Continuing the Legacy of Large-Scale Ecosystem Manipulation Experiments in Puerto Rico
There is a long history of experimental research in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico. These experiments have addressed questions about biotic thresholds, assessed why communities vary along natural gradients, and have explored forest responses to a range of both anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic disturbances. Combined, these studies cover many of the major disturbances that affect tropical forests around the world and span a wide range of topics, including the effects of forest thinning, ionizing radiation, hurricane disturbance, nitrogen deposition, drought, and global warming. These invaluable studies have greatly enhanced our understanding of tropical forest function under different disturbance regimes and informed the development of management strategies. Here we summarize the major field experiments that have occurred within the Luquillo Experimental Forest. Taken together, results from the major experiments conducted in the Luquillo Experimental Forest demonstrate a high resilience of Puerto Rico’s tropical forests to a variety of stressors.