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.