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Located in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico
Our site is located in a wet tropical forest in eastern Puerto Rico. The Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), also known as El Yunque National Forest, is an important area for research on the island. The site is part of the Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research Program as well as the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory.
We are working at an elevation of 100 m.a.s.l. (Carter et al. 2020) The highest point of the Luquillo Mountains is El Yunque Peak at 1,065 m in elevation.
Aerial view of three of the experimental plots within our
experimental site in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Luquillo, PR
(Photo credit: Maxwell Farrignton)
The experimental site receives on average 3500 mm of rainfall per year and the mean annual temperatures is 24 C; with Ultisol soil classification. Although there are no big season differences, what is perceived as the wet season extends from May through November, and months from January through April are drier on average.
Figure 1. Understory daily average air temperature of the TRACE experimental site, from 2015 to 2021.
Figure 2. Understory daily average relative humidity of the TRACE experimental site, from 2015 to 2021.
Hurricanes are a recurrent disturbance for the LEF, and they shape the communities composition and forest structure of our site. The most dominant tree species prior to Hurricanes Irma and Maria (in 2017) was Prestoea montana. After a complete canopy loss and a shift in the community composition the two most dominant species are Cecropia schreberiana and Psychotria brachiata (Fig. 1)
Cecropia schreberiana seen from below (Left) and Psychotria brachiata at plot 1 (Right) .
(Photo credit: Iana Grullón-Penkova)
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