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  • Landscape and Regional Impacts of Hurricanes in Puerto Rico 1508-1997
  • Boose, Emery
  • Foster, David
  • 2006
  • This project used a combination of historical research and computer modeling to study the impacts of hurricanes in Puerto Rico since 1508. For details on methods and results, please see the published paper (Boose, E. R., M. I. Serrano and D. R. Foster. 2004. Landscape and regional impacts of hurricanes in Puerto Rico. Ecological Monographs 74: 335-352). The Abstract from the paper is reproduced below. "Puerto Rico is subject to frequent and severe impacts from hurricanes, whose long-term ecological role must be assessed on a scale of centuries. In this study we applied a method for reconstructing hurricane disturbance regimes developed in an earlier study of hurricanes in New England. Patterns of actual wind damage from historical records were analyzed for 85 hurricanes since European settlement in 1508. A simple meteorological model (HURRECON) was used to reconstruct the impacts of 43 hurricanes since 1851. Long-term effects of topography on a landscape scale in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) were simulated with a simple topographic exposure model (EXPOS). "Average return intervals across Puerto Rico for F0 damage (loss of leaves and branches) and F1 damage (scattered blowdowns, small gaps) on the Fujita scale were 4 and 6 years, respectively. At higher damage levels a gradient was created by the direction of the storm tracks and the weakening of hurricanes over the interior mountains. Average return intervals for F2 damage (extensive blowdowns) and F3 damage (forests leveled) ranged from 15 to 33 years and 50 to 150 years, respectively, from east to west. In the LEF, the combination of steep topography and constrained peak wind directions created a complex mosaic of topographic exposure and protection, with average return intervals for F3 damage ranging from 50 years to more than 150 years. Actual forest damage was strongly dependent on land-use history and the effects of recent hurricanes. Annual and decadal timing of hurricanes varied widely. There was no clear centennial-scale trend in the number of major hurricanes over the historical period."
  • N: 18.5      S: 17.9      E: -65.2      W: -67.3
  • This dataset is released to the public and may be freely downloaded. Please keep the designated Contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement. For more information on LTER Network data access and use policies, please see:
  • doi:10.6073/pasta/2f90934c9070ffc428cd43d6f0d8db35
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