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Keywords:

  • disturbance;
  • gaps;
  • Taiwan;
  • tropical forests;
  • typhoons

ABSTRACT

We examined the typhoon wind disturbance regime of the Fu-Shan Experimental Forest in northeastern Taiwan. Mean number of typhoons passing within 200 kilometers of Taipei (40 kilometers from the site) was 1.4 per year. Category 4 and 5 typhoons, which are intense enough to uproot large numbers of trees, occurred every 8.3 and 12.5 years respectively, although it is likely that some category 4 and 5 typhoons did not produce extensive blowdowns at Fu-Shan because the area of maximum winds missed the study site. Uprooting was more common than snapped boles; the most common damage to trees, however, was probably defoliation, although this damage was not quantified in the current study. Thirty-five percent of wind-damaged trees were associated with a gap. Six percent of the land area was in gaps. Canopy turnover time was calculated at 175 years when all gaps ≤ 9 years old were included in the calculation, but the time decreased when older gaps were excluded from the calculation. Turnover time was somewhat higher than calculated for other tropical forests. Because turnover time increases as the percent of land in gaps decreases, the short life span of gaps at Fu-Shan probably contributed to our higher calculated time. Probability of being damaged was not related to tree species identity, and only a few species of trees were found regenerating in gaps. Principal Components Analysis indicated that damaged trees varied largely in treefall orientation and aspect; gaps varied primarily in aspect and in gap size.