Climate change and the re-greening of Puerto Rico
When Hurricane Maria roared through Puerto Rico, it did more than rip off roofs, destroy the power grid and kill people. It also tore up the forests that cover over half of the island. Many trees were stripped of foliage and branches, while others were simply blown out of the ground or snapped in half. Lush landscapes were instantly converted to expanses of naked trunks; normally cool, shady forest floors were baked by the sun. For the past 15 years, forest ecologist Maria Uriarte has been documenting the lives of thousands of individual trees in dozens of plots spread across the island, putting her in a unique position to study the hurricane’s damage and its long-term implications. Three months after the hurricane, Uriarte returned on a quickly organized post-hurricane study.
Provided by Earth Institute/Columbia University