To determine if there were consistent differences in growth, mortality, and recruitment on slopes and ridge crests in tropical montane forests, which could explain the (frequent but not universal) low stature of trees in the ridgetop forests, we analyzed data from long-term plots in Jamaica (1990–1994; sixteen 200-m2 plots, six on ridge crests and five each on north and south slopes). Mortality was higher on north slopes, while growth and recruitment rates were not significantly different among positions. Soil pH and effects of recent disturbance by Hurricane Gilbert were positively correlated with growth and recruitment, while slope angle and disturbance effects were the best predictors of mortality. The patterns we found in Jamaica, that growth and recruitment were not higher on ridge crests than slopes, are different than those found by Herwitz and Young in Australia where growth and turnover were greater on a ridge crest. Therefore, it is not possible at present to make simple generalizations about dynamics of ridge crest versus slope forests in the montane tropics.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3