Spatiotemporal effects of Hurricane Ivan on an endemic epiphytic orchid: 10 years of follow-up

TitleSpatiotemporal effects of Hurricane Ivan on an endemic epiphytic orchid: 10 years of follow-up
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsOrtiz-Rodríguez, IA, Raventós, J, Mújica, E, González-Hernández, E, Vega-Peña, E, Ortega-Larrocea, P, Bonet, A, Merow, C
JournalPlant Ecology & Diversity
Volume13, 2020
Date Published10/2019
Type of ArticleArticle
KeywordsCaribbean, cyclones, integral projection models, management strategies, plant population dynamics, stochastic growth rate, transfer functions, transient behaviour

Background: Hurricanes have a strong influence on the ecological dynamics and structure of tropical forests. Orchid populations are especially vulnerable to these perturbations due to their canopy exposure and lack of underground storage organs and seed banks.

Aims: We evaluated the effects of Hurricane Ivan on the population of the endemic epiphytic orchid Encyclia bocourtii to propose a management strategy.

Methods: Using a pre- and post-hurricane dataset (2003–2013), we assessed the population asymptotic and transient dynamics. We also identified the individual size-stages that maximise population inertia and E. bocourtii’s spatial arrangement relative to phorophytes and other epiphytes.

Results: Hurricane Ivan severely affected the survival and growth of individuals of E. bocourtii, and caused an immediate decline of the population growth rate from λ = 1.05 to λ = 0.32, which was buffered by a population reactivity of ρ1 = 1.42. Our stochastic model predicted an annual population decrease of 14%. We found an aggregated spatial pattern between E. bocourtii and its host trees, and a random pattern relative to other epiphytes.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that E. bocourtii is not safe from local extinction. We propose the propagation and reintroduction of reproductive specimens, the relocation of surviving individuals, and the establishment of new plantations of phorophytes.

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