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Functions Ecosystem process and components Descriptor Cockpit-Country-specific: large closed-canopy tropical forest = dark humid stable temperatures little wind almost continuous canopy (ref Lovejoy et al 1986) CC Data sources
Regulation Maintenance of essential ecological processes and life support systems      
Gas regulation Role of ecosystems in bio-geochemical cycles (CO2-O2 balance ozone layer) UV-b protection by O3 (preventing disease)    
    Maintenance of (good) air quality Forest size & CO2-O2 estimates Digitized land-use IKONOS & Forestry Biophysical Inventory
      Snails: rasping algae = leaf cleaning = enhanced photosynthesis; Jamaica particularly CC has the highest density (species diversity) of endemic land snails in the world; majority detritivores (=nutrient recycling) but xx% estimated to be algae raspers G. Rosenberg's (Acad. Nat. Sci.) geo-referenced species inventories
    (Partially) stabilizing influence on climate  
Climate regulation Influence of land cover and biological mediated porcesses on climate Maintenance of favorable climate (temp precipitation etc) for eg human habitat health agriculture    
    Maintenance of regional or local precipitation patterns Closed-canopy forest and relationship to soil moisture and evapo-transpiration:: deforestation = less water vapour flux into the atmosphere with consequent decreased local rainfall Rainfall evapotranspiration surface water runoff ground water discharge exploitable surface water run-off exploitable ground water data available from Water Resources Authority & Met. Office
      Closed-canopy forest: mediating effects against predictions of climate models - Caribbean likely to experience significant summer drying trend  
    Moderation of temperature extremes Absorption of solar radiation in forest canopy and energy retention / dissipation; comparison of circadian patterns in urban pasture and forest Temp / RH dataloggers stationed at Windsor in pasture and forest
    Maintenance of relative humidity patterns High relative humidity defines CC ecosystem; soil micro-organisms (mycorrhizal fungi scavenge hard-to-access nutirients and pass them along to trees) and leaf litter invertebrates (detritivores = nutrient recycling) particularly depend on high humidity to prevent dessication & death; microclimate edge gradient in tropical forest can extend 25-30m. Pattern of bauxite mining would be to access every bottomland-glade - entire landscape becomes "edge". Temp / RH dataloggers stationed at Windsor in pasture and forest
    Moderation of the force of winds Breeze not felt in the closed cockpit bottomlands but is experienced on hilltops or in cleared large glades; fragmentation = changes in patterns of wind damage to tree limbs with consequence for increased fungal and insect infestation Anecdotal observations; no weather stations in CC to collect wind data
      Fragmentation (notably by mining & road network) of CC predicted effects on microclimate: dessication at forest edges from increased sunlight and wind; decreased protection from wind damage to branches leaves & flowers Anecdotal observations; Temp / RH dataloggers
    Fire protection Lightning strikes associated with heavy rain storms: natural fires are extremely rare -- fires are started by humans. Fragmentation: increased sensitivity to fire at drier edges (see below: Alien Species as a second positive feedback mechanism); also must factor for climate change models predicting increased drought cycles and increased fire risk for the Caribbean Anecdotal observations
Disturbance regulation & prevention Influence of ecosystem structure on dampening environmental disturbances Storm protection Topography & aspect with regards to hurricane damage: only part of any individual cockpit hill is damaged - relevant for both hurricane resistance and post-hurricane ecoystem resilience Wunderle: post-Ivan observation
    Flood mitigation / protection (eg by wetlands and forests) Bauxite deposits may be up to 30-40m deep and are part of the aquifer (percolation rates of infiltration and storage capacity) Anecdotal reports of changes in flooding regimes in mined areas :: not sure if records are available for 20- 50- or 100yr rainfall / flood patterns
Water regulation Role of land cover in regulating runoff and river discharge Drainage and natural irrigation Mining: extensive road network either paved or heavily compacted marl (changes in run-off and infiltration patterns); removal of bauxite component of the aquifer; altered sinkhole drainage; contrast to buffered filtration of rain by above-ground vegetation root systems and soil  
    Medium for transport See Recreation: rafting & small motorized boat eco-tourism  
Water supply Filtering retention and storage of fresh water (eg in aquifers) Provision of water for consumptive use (eg drinking irrigation industrial use aquaculture) Water quantity: rainfall evapotranspiration surface water runoff ground water discharge exploitable surface water run-off exploitable ground water Data available from WRA for all watersheds; particular attention to Martha Brae Great River Black River Rio Bueno
      Karst hydrology associated with bedrock elevation and tectonic uplift history of Jamaica Results of Lycopodium spore tracings conducted by 1965-66 Karst Hydrology Expedition: flows of 1.5-3.0km per day through 10-20km in the CC aquifer before rising: rivers emerging on north side of CC sourced from rainfall & flow-through-aquifer from the south side of CC
      Water quality: suspended sediments oxygen-depleting substances nutrient-loading chloro-organo phosphates pathogens / parasites etc. == costs to replace water purification services with man-made filtration systems; CC: general trend observed that water quality declines from interior springs through edge and down-river sampling points (note: sample sizes low for interior sites) Water quality data available for head-waters and down-stream of major rivers particularly Martha Brae and Black River.
Erosion control and soil retention Role of vegetation root matrix and soil biota in soil retention Maintenance of arable land N/A ??  
    Prevention of damage from erosion / siltation 1mm per year soil erosion is national average Anecdotal confirmation of 1mm / annum in Windsor yard: additional step (25 cm high) added (yr 2005) to original staircase (est. 1795). Descriptions of cave siltation patterns from Jamaican Caves Organization CC report should be integrated into Forestry Dept landuse-IKONOS GIS
      GoJ recommends that hills with slope exceeding 30 degrees remain under natural forest-cover because of susceptibility to erosion Digital Surface Model of Cockpit Country available from Forestry Dept.
Soil formation Weathering of rock accumulation of organic matter Maintenance of natural productive soils Topographic variation of soils in CC: hilltops accumulate leaf litter (acidic humus) slopes tend to be talus-rock limestone (alkaline pH) soils with neutral-to-alkaline pH accumulate in bottomlands (glades).  
    SPECIAL COMMENT ABOUT TOPOGRAPHY FOREST PHYSIOGNOMY AND CLIMATE Related to topography and patterns of soil accumulation the largest trees are found in the glades. In relation to soil moisture evapotranspiration and climate one prediction is that the abiotic and biotic components of CC glades contribute disproportionally to the region's characteristic climate. That is glades may be a "keystone" component of the ecosystem with the effects of bauxite mining not being linear to "size area mined." FD Biophysical Inventory and Permanent Vegetation Monitoring Plots: for size-classes of trees across the topographic gradient
    Maintenance of productivity on arable land    
Nutrient regulation / cycling Role of biota in storage and re-cycling of nutrients (eg N P & S) Maintenance of healthy soils and productive ecosystems About 85% of all plant species most notably trees depend on partnerships with nutrient scavenging soil fungi to thrive (F. Martin Nature 452 pg x [abstractions])  
      Almost all organic matter passes through the microbial system in a tropical forest & microorganisms are an important food base for many invertebrate species.  
      Microorganisms and invertebrate detritivores (e.g. earthworms snails millipedes) are sensitive to changes in moisture / humidity; their diversity is associated with the heterogeneity of plant composition and the associated chemical and physical nature of leaf litter G. Rosenberg (pers. comm): sub-fossil mollusc shells can be used to track patterns of deforestation & regeneration in the past 500 years.
Waste treatment Role of vegetation and biota in removal or breakdown of xenic nutrients and compounds Pollution control / detoxification of wastes    
    Filtering of dust particles    
    Abatement of noise pollution    
Pollination Role of biota in movement of floral gametes Pollination of wild plant species Endothermic nectarivores (e.g. birds bats) must feed daily/nightly: diverse plant communities (species and life forms) are necessary to ensure nectar/pollen year-round -- either heterogeneity within a habitat OR connectivity / mobility between ecozones. For invertebrates microclimate and food also must be available for the larval "non pollinator" stage class  
      Research is very limited in Jamaica on legitimate pollinator vs. nectar robbing and pollen predation. It is not known whether any plant species are dependent upon a single legitimate pollinator.  
      Most records are restricted to (a) observations of floral visitors and (b) morphology (flower shape colour and fragrance) descriptions to predict the more important pollinators. Farr and Bretting (1986) identified 3 diurnal groupings - butterfly solitary bee and hummingbird; 2 nocturnal groups - moth and bat CC plant database derived from Adams (1976) Flowering plants of Jamaica and G. Proctor pers. comms. is being updated to include floral and fruit descriptions for predictions on pollinators and seed dispersers (see below) -- this needs to be linked to level of "forest dependence" of faunal species
    Pollination of crops Dominant agriculture activities on the periphery of CC are yam and sugar cane production: pollination not relevant. Lesser important crops include coffee and fruit trees: papaya (paw-paw) avocado (pear) ackee mango  
Seed dispersal Role of biota in movement of seed propagules Dispersal of wild plant species Birds and bats are the two major classes of seed-dispersing fauna; the only other native mammal the coney (hutia) has not been recorded in CC for more than 40 years despite being common in the fossil record.  
      CC because of its large size is notable for supporting one of the richest avian communities on Jamaica: all size-classes of frugivores and omnivores are present; focused research on the role and efficacy of birds-as-seed-dispersers (vs. seed predators) is extremely limited on Jamaica Important Bird Areas (IBA) database: includes comparative species composition data for similar forest-types but of smaller area size [notable (and as would be predicted) is the absence of larger Columbids (pigeons & doves) as forest patch size decreases] ; pilot research in CC (Linton Park Mountain [LPM] has been initiated by WRC into the role of seed-dispersing birds in assisting the regeneration of an abandoned pasture
      Bats are effective because of rapid gut-passage time (30mins) large distances they can travel in a single night and they defecate in flight to create a seed shadow (contrast to seed rain under mother tree); Neotropical bats are particularly important for small-seeded pioneering species and forest regeneration Species lists of cave-roosting bats available for a small subset of CC caves; locality data for the tree-roosting endemic frugivore Ariteus flavescens are limited to Windsor area; foraging ecology very poorly described for frugivorous bats limited to a few anecdotal observations; more detailed descriptions available for those Puerto Rican bats which co-occur in Jamaica
      Forest conversion (pasture mining) of glades: break-down in seed dispersal and regeneration because (a) no food or perching substrates for birds and (b) no food hanging substrates or degradation of physical substrate (vertical structure) with consequences for echolocation abilities of bats Pilot research at LPM abandoned pasture: seed dispersal in the pasture is a limiting factor for regeneration
Biological control Population control through trophic-dynamic relations Control of pests and diseases Aware of only one study in Jamaica which examined the role of Neotropical migratory birds in controlling coffee berry-borer Hypothenemus hampei the world's primary coffee pest. When Jamaican coffee farmers retain peripheral forest cover (bird habitat) the market value of increased saleable berries provided by bird predation ranged from US$ 44-105 per hectare. Very limited anecdotal descriptions of insectivorous birds but CC IBA species list is being modified to include foraging guilds
      Eight of Jamaica's 13 species of insectivorous bats occur in CC. Because bats are capable of consuming their body weight in insects each night they are important for controlling insect populations and crop pests; species will be highly variable in their role of consuming agriculture pests because of characteristics in echolocation signals: insectivores evolved with "closed canopy highly cluttered space" will be restricted to forested environments while those evolved for "uncluttered space" will be able to navigate and forage in agriculture environments. It is predicted that CC bats will play a more important role in controlling insects in the forest than in agriculture. Species lists of insectivorous bats being updated to include body weights in order to calculate potential consumption amounts of insects per annum.
    Reduction of herbivory (crop damage) Common complaints of farmers: damage by slugs and caterpillars  
Habitat Functions Providing habitat (suitable living space) for wild plant and animal species      
Refugium function Suitable living space for wild plants and animals Maintenance of biodiversity: variety of life forms the ecological roles they perform the genetic diversity they contain (and thus the basis for most ecosystem functions) CC: remnant of a forest-type that historically blanketed the central limestone plateau; one of the largest closed-canopy forests on Jamaica; Major Biodiversity Hotspot of endemism: recognized stronghold for many "island endemic" species as well as for CC-endemic flora and fauna Flora and fauna checklists of endemic species being updated for taxonomic uniqueness (eg endemic at species or genus level; avian family Todidae - only 5 species and all restricted to the Greater Antilles etc.). Trophic level and foraging guild also described to evaluate species for "criticality of natural capital" -- their importance & vulnerability to threats in relation to trophic level. For the vast majority of species all that is available is a checklist ie. there are very few studies of ecology demography etc.
        Floristically no two cockpit hills are identical and several plant species are globally restricted to a single hill.
    Large area-size Near-complete faunal community (including largest species of landbirds)  
      Complete trophic diversity notably top predators such as the Jamaican Boa  
      Diversity = stability  
      Diversity = resilience following disturbance esp. hurricane  
      Large viable population sizes = stability + resilience  
      Source to recolonize small patches which are vulnerable to deterministic (eg inbreeding depression) and catastrophic (eg hurricanes) events  
      Capacity of Protected Areas to slow down habitat degradation and to favour habitat restoration is related to size: smaller areas follow the dominant land-use change pattern in which they are embedded.  
    Contiguous (non-fragmented) forest patch Resistance to invasive species: deforestation or the maintenance of corridors (e.g. roads high-voltage powerlines) facilitates the spread of non-native invasive species. Species of concern include: (a) Giant Bamboo and Asian ferns which form biologically-sterile monocultures of vegetation and arrest all processes of forest succession (collapse of primary productivity); (b) Shiny Cowbird a brood-parasite that lays its eggs in the nests of a host -- either first ejects the eggs of the host or the cowbird nestlings out-compete the host's own nestlings for food provisioning; (c) Cane toad which has toxic glands and is lethal to eg Jamaican Boas if ingested -- mining roads with associated potholes and rain-filled puddles will provide ideal breeding ponds which are currently very limited in the porous cockpit karst substrate; and (d) Small Javan mongoose which presently occurs in low densities in CC in comparison to drier environments -- mining and associated changes in microclimate may contribute to enhancing the environment for mongooses. Digitized land-use IKONOS & Forestry Biophysical Inventory; IBA database; herpetology surveys by Byron Wilson
      Related to invasive plants: invasive grasses and ferns are more flammable than woody forest vegetation. Establishment at edges + drier microclimate / soils + flammability = positive feedback for increased vulnerability to fire Anecdotal observations. Kingston residents will be very familiar with the annual burning of Jack's Hill.
      Maintenance of closed-canopy microclimate: many species require 100% RH. Example: Jamaican Giant Swallowtail - largest butterfly in the New World endemic to Jamaica IUCN Endangered; CC may represent last viable population owing to extremely high rates of egg parasitism in the Blue Mtn. population; symbol used by many businesses -- all stages of life cycle require high humidity. Site localities of Giant Swallowtail are restricted information == a fresh specimen in the illegal trade reportedly fetches in-excess of USD 2 000.
      Absence of tracks & road restricts human access Roads facilitate illegal timber extraction poaching of parrots orchids etc.; anecdotal observations from Mount Diablo where bauxite mining currently occurs: removal of preferred species affects ecosystem species and trophic diversity
      Deforestation and fragmentation associated with eg mining will alter natural predator-prey dynamics through changes in vegetation structure at forest edges (eg. increased climbing vines and lianas associated with increased sunlight) or through the creation of permanent "gap" open-canopy habitats One species-of-concern: endemic Black-billed Parrot est. 90-95% of total population occurs in CC. Predation of nestlings by the Jamaican Boa is significantly high in edge habitat that it is considered a "sink" for parrots whereas reproductive performance in interior habitat represents a "source" for the population; presence of vines and lianas on edge nest sites facilitates access to the boas. Current "restoration" practices by bauxite companies --planting of non-native grasses -- create suitable habitat for Red-tailed Hawks a significant predator of fledgling Puerto Rican Parrots
      Species adapted to closed-canopy conditions will avoid open gaps potential genetic isolation of species with poor mobility. Bats with echolocation signals that function in a closed canopy "cluttered space" will be unlikely to fly across large open spaces to access food resources in hilltop forest patches  
      Maintenance of connectivity between terrestrial subterranean and freshwater ecosystems including all flows of energy / nutrient inputs water filtration etc.  
    Forest physiognomy Large trees (increasing tree size associated with difficulty-of-access and distance from edge or existing trail network) support diverse and large arboreal epiphytic tank bromeliad communities: critical water reservoirs in a limestone landscape and one of the defining ecosystems of CC which represent a foundation of the food web.  
      Terrestrial tank bromeliads are predominantly intolerant of full sunlight: large bromeliads are "prime real estate" microcosms for species dependent upon water for some / all stages of their life cycles  
      Every component of the vertical structure: root matrix ground cover trunk subcanopy canopy snag rotting treefall flaking bark etc. utilized for foraging shelter roosting  
Nursery function Suitable reproduction habitat Maintenance of biodiversity Requires maintenance of microclimate gradients vegetative structural gradients access to food resources (spatial relationships) natural predator-prey dynamics connectivity for effective dispersal of offspring  
      Connectivity required between cave-dwelling bat nursery and terrestrial food resources  
      Many species such as birds show very strong annual fidelity to nesting territories / breeding sites WRC unpublished bird banding data
      Souce/sink dynamics associated with interior:edge large:small forest size and degree of isolation of forest fragments: altered predator-prey dynamics and patterns of brood-parasitism by Shiny Cowbirds  
      Evolution of high levels of maternal care in CC wildlife -- environment of high rainfall but little surface water  
      Evolution of globally unique maternal care: the Jamaican bromeliad crab is the only known crab in the world with co-operative breeding -- daughters of a previous year's clutch remain in the bromeliad remain reproductively inactive and assist their mother in rearing their siblings including colony defense and food provisioning.  
      Maintenance of diversity = maintenance of variation  
    Added Note: Annual budgets for endangered species conservation in Puerto Rico -- total exceeds USD 2 million per annum    
Production Functions: Non-renewable Provision of non-renewable natural resources      
Rocks and minerals   Bauxite    
Fossil fuels   Limestone    
Production Functions: Renewable Provision of renewable natural resources      
Food Conversion of solar energy into edible plants and animals Hunting gathering of fish game fruits etc. Shooting of gamebirds regulated by NEPA but is illegal within the CC forest reserves  
    Small-scale subsistence farming and aquaculture Aquaculture of non-native Tilapia spp. particularly relevant for Black River watershed  
Raw materials Conversion of solar energy into biomass for human construction and other uses Building and manufacturing (e.g. lumber)    
    Fuel and energy (eg fuel wood organic matter)    
    Fodder and fertilizer (e.g krill leaves litter) Collection of bat guano documented to have devastating effects on cave communities: extripation of bat colonies and loss of guano-dependent invertebrate communities.  
Genetic resources Genetic material and evolution in wild plants and animals Improve crop resistance to pathogens and pests    
Medicinal resources Variety in (bio)chemical substances in and other medicinal uses of natural biota Drugs and pharmaceuticals    
    Chemical models and tools    
    Test- and assay organisms    
Ornamental resources Variety of biota in natural ecosystems with (potential) ornamental use Resources for fashion handicraft jewelry pets worship decoration and souvenirs (e. g feathers orchids butterflies aquarium fish shells etc.)    
Information Functions Providing opportunitites for cognitive development      
Aesthetic information Attractive landscape features Enjoyment of scenery (scenic roads housing etc.)    
Psychological & social information Unique landscape features Recognition of the international significance of Jamaica's natural landscape flora and fauna: feel good because the world recognizes us Little-size Jamaica and Cockpit Country recognized as a "hotspot" of endemism; Cockpit Country is the "type locality" for cockpit karst; meets criteria of World Heritage Site status J Country Environmet Profile 1987 pg 162: GoJ recognizes intrinsic value of biodiveristy
Recreation Variety in landscapes with (potential) recreational uses Travel to natural ecosystems for eco-tourism outdoor sport etc.    
Cultural and artistic information Variety in natural features with cultural and artistic value Use of nature as motive in books film painting folklore national symbolds architecture advertising etc. Maroon heritage (see below)  
Spiritual and historic information Variety in natural features with spiritual and historic value use of nature for religious or historic purposes (ie. heritage value of natural ecosystems and features) Maroon - British heritage: key factors: (a) topography facilitated guerilla warfare style used successfully by the Maroons; (b) British attempted to control above-ground river sources  
Science and education Variety in nature with scientific and educational value Use of natural systems for school excursions etc.; use of nature for scientific research Evolution of unique species (endemism) variation is needed for evolution
      Evolution of unique adaptive behaviours  
      Taxonomic distinctiveness