Earthquake-Caused Landslides: A Major Disturbance to Tropical Forests

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Science  07 Sep 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4410, pp. 997-999
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4410.997


Earthquakes occasionally denude large areas of tropical forest: for example, 54 square kilometers in Panama in 1976 and 130 square kilometers in New Guinea in 1935. Earthquake rates in New Guinea, but not in Panama, are sufficiently high so that substantial areas of disturbed, nonclimax forest may accumulate. In New Guinea, earthquake-caused landslides are as important as tree falls in the disturbance regime.