Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Steven F. Oberbauer

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Michael S. Ross

Third Advisor's Name

David W. Lee

Date of Defense



I examined the effects of soil and slope conditions on canopy dynamics in terms of openness and leaf area index through time as measured by hemispherical photography. Specifically, I compared alluvial versus residual soil and slope versus plateau and flat plots in an old-growth tropical wet forest in Costa Rica. No significant effects of slope were found for any estimator of canopy coverage in any analysis. Soil type approached significance as a single factor and several soil*year interactions were highly significant. In addition, I found highly significant inter-annual variation in all analyses that was concordant on all plot types. This is the first long-term study to document substantial inter-annual variation in canopy cover for a tropical wet forest. These patterns are a combination of seasonal changes in leaf area, forest dynamics resulting from gap formation and closure, and inter-annual variation in leaf area coverage caused by climate variation.




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