Hurricane that hit Jamaica helped low-lying trees spread to mountains


Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica in 1988, and the damage it left in its wake might have allowed warm-adapted trees that normally grow at low altitudes to take root on the island’s mountains


12 July 2022

plane destroyed in Hurricane Gilbert

An aeroplane in Jamaica damaged by Hurricane Gilbert – the storm also influenced the island’s ecology

Bill Cooke/AP/Shutterstock

The destruction caused when tropical storms sweep across cool, high-elevation areas may open up enough ecological space for warm-adapted plant species to establish themselves, speeding up the ecological shifts caused by climate change

Edmund Tanner at the University of Cambridge began tracking vegetation plots that are about 1580 metres above sea level in the Blue mountains of eastern Jamaica in the mid-1970s, suspecting that a hurricane might come through his study area at some point …

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