DOI: 10.1101/504928Dec 21, 2018Paper

Mangrove forest structure and composition along urban gradients in Puerto Rico

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Benjamin Branoff, Sebastian Martinuzzi


Urban forests are repeatedly characterized as distinct in composition and structure in comparison with their non-urban counterparts. This holds true for mangroves, although previous studies lack quantified representations of urbanness as well as any inclusion of hydrology or water chemistry, which are important influences on mangrove forest structure, composition, and function. This study uses LiDAR and ground-based measurements of mangroves within well quantified urban gradients in Puerto Rico to test for the relative importance of urbanization alongside flooding metrics and surface water chemistry in explaining observed patterns of forest structure and composition. In simple regression, urban metrics were the most powerful predictors of forest composition but not structure. Results show higher tree diversity but lower mangrove diversity in the most urban forests. Structural measurements, however, were best explained by flooding, surface water chemistry, and non-urban land cover metrics. Nitrogen concentrations best explained stem density and tree size, while flooding metrics best explained stand biomass and basal area, and surrounding vegetation cover best explained canopy cover and height metrics. In multiple regression, lan...Continue Reading

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