Impact of the 2010 tsunami on an endangered insular soil–plant system
- 191 Downloads
Natural catastrophes could damage island biodiversity and ecosystems, and their effects could become devastating if combined with human disturbances. In this study, we determined the effects of the tsunami occurred in Robinson Crusoe Island (Chile) on 27 February 2010 on an endangered soil–plant system. Using data of endemic Cabbage Trees (Dendroseris litoralis Skottsb.) and soil attributes taken before and after the 2010 event, we developed thematic maps to assess the changes in population size and soil substrate of Cabbage Trees caused by the tsunami. We determined that from 153 pre-tsunami (2009) standing Cabbage Trees, only 66 (43 %) survived in 2011, mostly in elevations above 25 m a.s.l. Before the tsunami, 86 (56 %) of Cabbage Trees were established in humus-rich soil sites whereas after the tsunami, this number declined to 53 (35 %). These results represent the first report of a severe population decline after a tsunami and indicate that tsunamis are an important source of species extinction in small oceanic islands not only by reducing the population size but also by reducing the quality of sites for plant growth.
KeywordsTsunami Island endemics Soil destruction Natural catastrophe Dendroseris litoralis
Gratitude is dedicated to Chilean CONAF staff Galvez, Reyes, Gallano, Mesa, Gonzalez, Diaz, and especially Ivan Leiva and Victorio Bertullo for informative materials, Island Conservation staff, and local Rojas and López families. Miriam Fernandez (Univ. Cat. Chile), Humboldt Foundation (Bonn), and Institute of Landscape Ecology (Univ. Munster) supported the survey. Two anonymous reviewers provided valuable suggestion for manuscript improvement, and we are grateful to both.
- Cuevas JG, Van Leersum G (2001) Project “conservation, restoration, and development of the Juan Fernández islands, Chile”. Revi Chil Hist Nat 74:899–910Google Scholar
- Gaston A, Jones I (1998) The Auks. Oxford University Press, Oxford, AlcidaeGoogle Scholar
- IUCN (2013) The IUCN red list of threatened species. http://www.iucnredlist.org/technical-documents/classification-schemes/threats-classification-scheme. Accessed Sep 24 2013
- Ramachandran S, Anitha S, Balamurugan V, Dharanirajan K, Vendhan KE, Divien MIP, Vel AS, Hussain IS, Udayaraj A (2005) Ecological impact of tsunami on Nicobar Islands (Camorta, Katchal, Nancowry and Trinkat). Curr Sci 89:195–200Google Scholar
- Scheffer F, Schachtschabel P, Blume H-P, Brümmer GW (2002) Lehrbuch der Bodenkunde. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
- Skottsberg C (1922) Dendroseris. In: Skottsberg C (ed) The natural history of Juan Fernandez and Easter Islands. Almqvist & Wiksells, Uppsala, pp 199–209Google Scholar
- Skottsberg C (1956) The natural history of Juan Fernandez and Easter Islands, 3 Vols. Almqvist & Wiksells, UppsalaGoogle Scholar
- Winckler P, Reyes M, Sepúlveda I (2010) Evaluacion del Tsunami del 27-02-2010 en poblado de San Juan Bautista, Isla Robinson Crusoe. University of Valparaiso Press, Viña del Mar, Archipelago Juan FernandezGoogle Scholar