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Title: Park effectiveness, forest clearance and the value of secondary re-growth in a Jamaican forest
Author: Chai, S.-L. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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I studied the Blue & John Crow Mountain National Park in Jamaica to evaluate protected area effectiveness in reducing forest clearance in this country, which is a significant contributor to the high biodiversity and high endemism of the Caribbean region. Using time-series Landsat imagery, I found that forest clearance occurred at a similar high rate before and after the declaration of the area as a national park (1.50 % yr-1 and 1.42% yr-1 respectively), and that forest clearance and fragmentation were mostly confined to the more accessible forest at lower elevation (< 1000 m). In these lower elevation forests, I documented high plant endemism (30 %) and beta diversity using data from 25 x 0.04 ha plots, which I established and Adams (1972) flora of Jamaica. To investigate the conservation value of secondary forest, I used the oldest secondary forest ever compared with adjacent old growth forest to assess tree species composition and structure in the two forest types. I showed that although these two forest types were similar in many aspects, they were still different in the percentage of tree individuals that are endemic, and in the species composition of the larger stems. In a more controlled experiment, using one of the longest monitored sets of permanent plots in the tropics, I showed that 24-35 years after intensive disturbance in experimental gaps, the species compositional and basal area of trees in gap plots had not recovered to their pre-cut condition, and gaps were heavily invaded by a non-native species. My results indicate the slow recovery from disturbance of tropical montane forests, and the persistent effect of historical disturbance on secondary forests.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available