Table_1_Wind Speed Controls Forest Structure in a Subtropical Forest Exposed to Cyclones: A Case Study Using an Individual-Based Model.DOCX
Extreme wind blowdown events can significantly modify the structure and composition of forests, and the predicted shift in tropical cyclone regimes due to climate change could strongly impact forests across the tropics. In this study, we coupled an individual-based and spatially-explicit forest dynamics model (TROLL) with a mechanistic model estimating wind damage as a function of tree size, traits, and allometry (ForestGALES). We assimilated floristic trait data and climate data from a subtropical forest site in Taiwan to explore the effect of wind regimes on forest properties. We found that the average canopy height and biomass stocks decreased as wind disturbance strength increased, but biomass stocks showed a nonlinear response. Above a wind intensity threshold, both canopy height and biomass drastically decreased to near-zero, exhibiting a transition to a non-forest state. Wind intensity strongly regulated wind impact, but varying wind frequency did not cause discernible effects. The implementation of within-stand topographic heterogeneity led to weak effects on within-stand forest structure heterogeneity at the study site. In conclusion, the intensity of wind disturbances can potentially greatly impact forest structure by modifying mortality. Individual-based modeling provides a framework in which to investigate the impact of wind regimes on mortality, other factors influencing wind-induced tree mortality, as well as interaction between wind and other forms of forest disturbance and human land use legacy.