Recovery from clearing, cyclone and fire in rain forests of Tonga, South Pacific

Vegetation dynamics 1995-2005

Janet Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In late 2001 a category 3 cyclone impacted forest plots that were established in Tonga in 1995, and additionally, one plot was accidentally burned by an escaped land-clearing fire. Subsequent surveys provide observations of 10 years of forest dynamics in this poorly studied region, and the first reported observations of large interannual variation in juvenile (seedling and sapling) abundance in the western tropical Pacific. The severely disturbed (burned) plot was initially colonized by a non-native early pioneer, Carica papaya L., but 3.5 years later a native pioneer, Macaranga harveyana (Muell. Arg.) Muell. Arg., was the most abundant tree species. The seedling layer included some long-lived pioneers and shade-tolerant species. Two mature forest plots affected only by the cyclone changed very little over a decade. Late-successional shade-tolerant species that dominated the overstory were also abundant as seedlings and saplings. This is in contrast with a 30- to 40-year-old, formerly cultivated, secondary forest plot that still shows no recruitment of late-successional dominants, in spite of the proximity of remnant forest patches. This study suggests differing pathways of succession following shifting cultivation versus cyclone and fire disturbances in Tonga. Land use legacies appear to have a long-lasting effect on community composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-797
Number of pages9
JournalAustral Ecology
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Tonga
vegetation dynamics
cyclone
rain forests
seedling
sapling
vegetation
saplings
seedlings
shade
forest dynamics
shifting cultivation
overstory
secondary forest
Macaranga
annual variation
community composition
Carica papaya
secondary forests
land use

Keywords

  • Cultivation
  • Disturbance
  • Succession
  • Tropical rain forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Recovery from clearing, cyclone and fire in rain forests of Tonga, South Pacific : Vegetation dynamics 1995-2005. / Franklin, Janet.

In: Austral Ecology, Vol. 32, No. 7, 11.2007, p. 789-797.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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