Global change threatens ecosystems worldwide, and tropical systems with their high diversity and rapid development are of special concern. We can mitigate the impacts of change if we understand how tropical ecosystems respond to disturbance. For tropical forests and streams in Puerto Rico this book describes the impacts of, and recovery from, hurricanes, landslides, floods, droughts, and human disturbances in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. These ecosystems recover quickly after natural disturbances, having been shaped over thousands of years by such events. Human disturbance, however, has longer-lasting impacts.
Chapters are by authors with many years of experience in Puerto Rico and other tropical areas and cover the history of research in these mountains, a framework for understanding disturbance and response, the environmental setting, the disturbance regime, response to disturbance, biotic mechanisms of response, management implications, and future directions. The text provides a strong perspective on tropical ecosystem dynamics over multiple scales of time and space.