Luquillo LTER

Students and technicians at LUQ-LTER in the debris pile at the bottom of a 20 x 20 m hurricane debris removal plot, end of Septemer, 1989, about two weeks after Hurricane Hugo.

Key Research Findings:

Research at Luquillo LTER led to the discovery of DNRA and Feammox, novel pathways for nitrogen loss from terrestrial ecosystems. Understanding these pathways will help scientists predict the sources and magnitudes of greenhouse gas emissions and how human activities, such as irrigation and fertilization, affect water and air quality in tropical regions.
By developing a model that simulates how forests react to multiple disturbances, scientists at Luquillo LTER found that interactions between hurricane and human impacts lead to forests with new compositions of tree species.
Scientists at Luquillo LTER have shown that carbon cycling in tropical forests is highly sensitive to climate. Relatively small increases in temperature can decrease the ability of tropical forests to store carbon recently captured by photosynthesis, thus accelerating climate change.

Overview: The Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) has been a center of tropical forestry research for nearly a century. In addition, the LEF is a recreation site for over a half a million people per year, a water supply for approximately 20% of Puerto Rico's population, a regional center for electronic communication, and a refuge of Caribbean biodiversity. It is the goal of the USDA Forest Service and the University of Puerto to promote and maintain the forest's role as a center of active and dynamic scientific inquiry. However, to maintain the ecological integrity of the forest while balancing the many demands placed upon it's resources, certain protocol is required. This guide provides the major protocols that govern research in the LEF. These protocols are designed to help researchers protect the forests, obey the law, create an amiable and non-discriminatory work environment, and provide a historical record for future scientists.
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History: LUQ LTER 1 was submitted in 1988, LTER 2 in 1994 and the current one, LTER 3 was first submitted in 2000, re-submitted and finally accepted in 2002.
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Research Topics: Environmental Setting Disturbance and Recovery Food Webs Forest Dynamics Geology Climate and Hydrology Landslides Streams Models
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