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Dry forests of Central America and the Caribbean Seasonally dry tropical forests

by Medina, E. eds; Murphy, P.G; Lugo, A.E; Bullock, S.H; Mooney, H.A.
Publisher: Cambridge (RU) Cambridge University Press 1995Description: p. 9-34.ISBN: 0521435145 (Hb.).Subject(s): ECOLOGIA FORESTAL | BOSQUE TROPICAL SECO | AMERICA CENTRAL | CARIBE | FOREST ECOLOGY | CENTRAL AMERICA | CARIBBEAN | ECOLOGIE FORESTIERE | AMERIQUE CENTRALE | CARAIBESSummary: About half of the Central American and Caribbean land area is characterized by a tropical or subtropical dry forest climate. Dry forests occur most commonly on low islands or on the lee side of mountainous islands, on coastal areas of low relief, and on the Pacific (lee) side of the Central American land mass at elevations below 2000. In such areas, annual rainfall levels typically are below 2000 mm and vary substantially from year to year. Major and minor annual dry seasons totalling six months are characteristic. Dry forest occur on a wide variety of soil types. Dry forests vary from deciduous to evergreen or semievergreen, and vary considerably in structure and composition. They range from 2 m tall woodlands in the drier, more exposed areas to 40 m forests on more favorable sites. En Central America, human influences in the form of hunting and modification of the vegetation cover have been factors for as long as 11.000 years. Agricultural alteration of the landscape began about 5000 years ago. Rates of animal extinction are particularly high on islands of the region; on many islands, and in some continental areas, few or no examples of natural lowland ecosystems remain. The tendency for Central American human populations to concentrate in drier climates has hastened the rate of dry forest degradation. The potential for the sustained and profitable extraction of products from dry forest is not known but is likely to be low on a per unit area basis. The need to develop rehabilitation and management strategies for dry forest ecosystemsm and to protect the relatively few remaining tracts of undisturbed examples, is of the highest priority
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About half of the Central American and Caribbean land area is characterized by a tropical or subtropical dry forest climate. Dry forests occur most commonly on low islands or on the lee side of mountainous islands, on coastal areas of low relief, and on the Pacific (lee) side of the Central American land mass at elevations below 2000. In such areas, annual rainfall levels typically are below 2000 mm and vary substantially from year to year. Major and minor annual dry seasons totalling six months are characteristic. Dry forest occur on a wide variety of soil types. Dry forests vary from deciduous to evergreen or semievergreen, and vary considerably in structure and composition. They range from 2 m tall woodlands in the drier, more exposed areas to 40 m forests on more favorable sites. En Central America, human influences in the form of hunting and modification of the vegetation cover have been factors for as long as 11.000 years. Agricultural alteration of the landscape began about 5000 years ago. Rates of animal extinction are particularly high on islands of the region; on many islands, and in some continental areas, few or no examples of natural lowland ecosystems remain. The tendency for Central American human populations to concentrate in drier climates has hastened the rate of dry forest degradation. The potential for the sustained and profitable extraction of products from dry forest is not known but is likely to be low on a per unit area basis. The need to develop rehabilitation and management strategies for dry forest ecosystemsm and to protect the relatively few remaining tracts of undisturbed examples, is of the highest priority

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