Puerto Rico’s forests, 2009
This report presents the results of the fourth forest inventory of the islands of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Forest area on mainland Puerto Rico held steady, or increased slightly, from 2004 to 2009. This change would seem to indicate that the rate of forest cover increase on mainland Puerto Rico has slowed since the forest inventory began in 1980. But the sampling errors are sufficiently large to encompass these small changes in forest cover, making it best to state that forest cover remained relatively stable from 2004 to 2009. There are 1.28 billion cubic feet of merchantable wood in Puerto Rico’s forests, 86 percent of which is on unreserved, private lands. There are 54.0 million tons of above and belowground live tree biomass, which converts to about 27.0 million tons of carbon. Puerto Rico’s forest trees grew by 65.6 million cubic feet each year but lost 31.6 million cubic feet per year to natural mortality and another 85,028 cubic feet to removals from harvesting and land clearance, for a net annual gain of 34.0 million cubic feet on average from 2004 to 2009. A total of 298 species were encountered on the forest inventory plots measured from 2006 to 2009. The most important species have not changed much since the previous inventory.