Rain forests of the sea??

Fredrik Moberg fredrikm at system.ecology.su.se
Tue May 30 05:48:43 EDT 2000

In the latest issue of the journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of 
Sciences (Ambio) there is an article by Ariel Lugo, Caroline Rogers 
and Scott Nixon (see abstract below). It deals with the resistance, 
ruin and recovery of rainforests and coral reefs in the Caribbean.

It also includes a list of the similarities and contrasts between 
reefs and rainforests.

Hurricanes, coral reefs and rainforests: Resistance, ruin and 
recovery in the Caribbean

Lugo AE, Rogers C, Nixon S

AMBIO 29: (2) 106-114, MAR 2000


The coexistence of hurricanes, coral reefs, and rainforests in the 
Caribbean demonstrates that highly structured ecosystems with great 
diversity can flourish in spite of recurring exposure to intense 
destructive energy. Coral reefs develop in response to wave energy 
and resist hurricanes largely by virtue of their structural strength. 
Limited fetch also protects some reefs from fully developed hurricane 
waves. While storms may produce dramatic local reef damage, they 
appear to have little impact on the ability of coral reefs to provide 
food or habitat for fish and other animals. Rainforests experience an 
enormous increase in wind energy during hurricanes with dramatic 
structural changes in the vegetation. The resulting changes in forest 
microclimate are larger than those on reefs and the loss of fruit, 
leaves, cover, and microclimate has a great impact on animal 
populations. Recovery of many aspects of rainforest structure and 
function is rapid, though there may be long-term changes in species 
composition. While resistance and repair have maintained reefs and 
rainforests in the past, human impacts may threaten their ability to 

                                   (o o)
Fredrik Moberg
Natural Resources Management
Department of Systems Ecology
Stockholm University
S-106 91 Stockholm

phone: +46-8-161747
fax: +46-8-158417
e-mail: fredrikm at system.ecology.su.se
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