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« Clyde Connell | Main | Selva Maya III »

Selva Maya Interrupted

At 2:37 AM on August 21, 2007, Hurricane Dean slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula.  The center of the storm passed right through the middle of the Selva Maya, destroying over 1 million hectares of forest and toppling or decapitating most of the sample trees that we had banded. The 600 or so bands that are still in place are providing invaluable data on the growth response of tropical trees to hurricanes.  Certainly worthwhile, but not exactly what we had in mind when we originally designed the research.

[NOTES: Both stems shown in the lower photo have bands.  The one on the right was twisted and snapped; the one on the left had lost all of its limbs.  Both trees have since died. As indicated by the sky showing through in the background, the forest canopy was completely removed by the hurricane.]

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