FOREST ECOLOGY

Legacy of a storm

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6202.1307-a

Damage in Hyde Park, London, after the October 1987 storm

PHOTO: GEORGE BERNARD/NHPA/PHOTOSHOT/NEWSCOM

A severe windstorm has increased plant species diversity in British broadleaved woodlands. In September 1987, hurricane-force winds uprooted an estimated 15 million trees in southeastern England. Smart et al. monitored the understory plant community in forest plots before and after the storm, and compared affected and unaffected sites. In the 15 years after the storm, the number of species in wind-damaged plots increased by 32%. Most were native woodland species rather than invasives. This single massive event reversed a 40-year background trend toward decreased plant diversity in undisturbed woodlands.

J. Ecol. 10.1111/1365-2745.12291 (2014).

Navigate This Article