On this site, we review ecological models developed by the Systems Ecology Lab at SUNY-ESF for the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) of the Luquillo Mountains in northeastern Puerto Rico. The LEF has elevations ranging from about 100 to 1075 m above mean sea level. The LEF exhibits four main forest ecosystem typestabonuco, colorado, palm and dwarf (also called cloud) forestsstratified roughly by altitude. The tabonuco forest, found below 600 m, is best developed on low, protected, well-drained ridges and occupies nearly 70% of the LEF. The colorado forest, which covers about 17% of the LEF, is above the average cloud condensation level (600 m) and hence presumably has lower evaporation. The dwarf forest, with its short, gnarled vegetation, is on peaks and ridges above 750 m in elevation (2% of the LEF). The palm forests are limited to areas of steeper slopes, poor drainage and saturated soils at all elevations and cover 11% of the LEF (Brown, 1983).
The System Ecology Lab, directed by Dr. Charles Hall in SUNY-ESF has made many spatial models for the LEF. These models simulate climate, primary productivity, structure and biomass recovery from hurricane disturbance, and soil organic carbon over the whole forest.