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Hurricane regimes for forests of North and Central America
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  • Jeffery Cannon,
  • Chris Peterson,
  • Christopher Godfrey,
  • Andy Whelan
Jeffery Cannon
Jones Ecological Research Center

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Chris Peterson
University of Georgia
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Christopher Godfrey
University of North Carolina Asheville
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Andy Whelan
Jones Ecological Research Center
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Tropical cyclones are globally common, and impact forests worldwide. Despite the ubiquity of hurricane disturbances, little is known about how hurricane regimes shape the ecology and evolution of tree species. Consideration of forest fire regimes has advanced the ecological understanding of fire-prone forests, but no similar framework is available for hurricanes. Using a simple meteorological model, we test the hypothesis that the intensity and frequency of hurricanes differs among geographically distinct hurricane regimes, and we define four hurricane regimes for North and Central America (Continental, Inland, Coastal, and Lowland). We quantify major differences in hurricane regimes and discuss how species traits related to windfirmness may vary along hurricane regime gradients. Quantitative characterization of forest hurricane regimes provides a critical first step for understanding the evolutionary and ecological role of hurricane regimes in wind-prone forests.