Abstract

Diversity and dynamics of a high sub-Andean forest from Northern Andes, Colombia. The sub-Andean forests are characterized by a high biodiversity, but little is known about their natural dynamics. In order to generate new information, this study assessed two permanent plots of one hectare each, in the Northern Andean area of the Western Cordillera, Colombia. Methodology included the evaluation of diversity patterns, above ground biomass (AGB) dynamics, and mortality and recruitment rates. Besides, we used the Fisher ́s Alpha index to calculate species diversity. Forest dynamics and AGB were evaluated in both plots by means of three censuses carried out within a nine years period. In total, we found 1 664 individuals with diameter at breast height (DBH)≥10cm belonging to 222 species, 113 genera and 60 families. Mean species richness was of 156 species/ha and a mean Fisher ́s Alpha index of 56.2/ha. The mortality rate was 0.88% and recruitment was 1.16%, which did not allow to lay any external effect of global warming or climate change on individual forest dynamics. However, the mean AGB was 243.44±9.82t/ha, with an annual average increase of 2.9t/ha, a higher value than the one reported in other studies of high sub-Andean forests, which suggests that equilibrium in terms of the AGB have not yet been reached. Besides, according to field observations, a recovery process, from a disturbance that occurred in the past, might be on his way.
Keywords: above ground biomass, mortality, recruitment, climate change, lower montane forests