Impacts of Vegetation and Precipitation on Throughfall Heterogeneity in a Tropical Pre-Montane Transitional Cloud Forest Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Precipitation throughfall (TF) plays an important role in the water balance of tropical forests. This study used 164 gauges to quantify precipitation and TF variability in a tropical pre-montane transitional cloud forest on the Caribbean slope of the Cordillera Tilarn, Costa Rica, to identify the ecological and meteorological drivers of this variability. Daily TF measurements were taken from 28 June to 17 July 2012 and 12 June to 16 July 2013, for a total of 39 precipitation events. The total mean TF was 87.9 percent and TF at individual gauges ranged from 22.7 percent to 245.7 percent. Leaf area index (LAI) was calculated above each gauge using hemispheric photography for a mean study-site LAI of 7.7. There was no statistically significant relationship between LAI and TF. However, the amount of TF was positively correlated with precipitation intensity, while the variability of TF was negatively correlated with precipitation intensity. Our calculations indicate that at least 61 gauges are required to obtain mean TF estimates with less than 5 percent error. This study demonstrates that TF is highly spatially heterogeneous due to multiple compounding effects.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Teale, N. G., Mahan, H., Bleakney, S., Berger, A., Shibley, N., Frauenfeld, O. W., ... Washington-Allen, R.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Teale, Natalie G||Mahan, Hayden||Bleakney, Sarah||Berger, Amelie||Shibley, Nicole||Frauenfeld, Oliver W||Quiring, Steven M||Rapp, Anita D||Roark, E Brendan||Washington-Allen, Robert

publication date

  • November 2014