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Non-indigenous bamboo along headwater streams of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico: Leaf fall, aquatic leaf decay and patterns of invasion

January 1, 2000

The introduction of bamboo to montane rain forests of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico in the 1930s and 1940s has led to present-day bamboo monocultures in numerous riparian areas. When a non-native species invades a riparian ecosystem, in-stream detritivores can be affected. Bamboo dynamics expected to influence stream communities in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) were examined. Based on current distributions, bamboo has spread down-stream at a rate of 8 m y-1. Mean growth rate of bamboo culms was 15.3 cm d-1. Leaf fall from bamboo stands exceeded that of native mixed-species forest by c. 30% over a 10-mo study. Bamboo leaves (k = -0.021), and leaves from another abundant riparian exotic, Syzygium jambos (Myrtaceae) (k = -0.018), decayed at relatively slow rates when submerged in streams in fine-mesh bags which excluded macro-invertebrate leaf processors. In a second study, with leaf processors present, bamboo decay rates remained unchanged (k = -0.021), while decay rates of S. jambos increased (k = -0.037). Elemental losses from bamboo leaves in streams were rapid, further suggesting a change in riparian zone/stream dynamics following bamboo invasion. As non-indigenous bamboos spread along Puerto Rico streams, they are likely to alter aquatic communities dependent on leaf input.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2000
Title Non-indigenous bamboo along headwater streams of the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico: Leaf fall, aquatic leaf decay and patterns of invasion
DOI 10.1017/S0266467400001541
Authors P. J. O'Connor, A.P. Covich, F.N. Scatena, L.L. Loope
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Tropical Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70022434
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization