Journal of Tropical Ecology


Defoliation of an island (Guam, Mariana Archipelago, Western Pacific Ocean) following a saltspray-laden ‘dry’ typhoon

a1 Marine Laboratory, University of Guam, Mangilao GU 96923 USA


Tropical cyclonic storms with sustained winds above 120 km h−1 are called hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones depending on their geographic location. They can cause considerable damage to forests. This damage may be in the form of pruned and fallen trees from intense winds (Boucher et al. 1990, Walker et al. 1992), defoliation from a combination of winds and torrential rains (Vandermeer et al. 1997), or mortality from marine inundation of low-lying land (Gardner et al. 1991). Occasionally, extensive defoliation of forests can also occur from wind-driven saltwater when winds are onshore and precipitation is insufficient to dilute the seaspray (Chen & Horng 1993). Below I report the dramatic consequences of an unusual seaspray-laden typhoon on the vegetation of the western Micronesian island of Guam.

(Accepted February 19 2000)

Key Words: cyclone; disturbance; forest; hurricane; island; Micronesia; salt damage; storm; wind.

p1 Current address to which correspondence should be addressed: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Osborn Zoological Laboratories, Yale University, P.O. Box 208106, New Haven CT 06520-8106 USA. Email: