Dr. Uriarte has mapped and identified the trees in certain areas. Using that data, as well as pre-hurricane photos, A.I. can then identify the species and show how it spread over the entire forest.
“We know in severe storms, there are clear winners and losers,” Dr. Uriarte said. “Some species suffer a lot of damage and some don’t. Over the long term, the winners would become more dominant.”
One winner is a certain palm tree, the Sierra, that is very resistant to hurricanes, and Dr. Uriarte is trying to determine where and how it spread over 28,000 acres of El Yunque National Forest as a result of past storms.
There are numerous consequences of the rise of this particular palm, including how much carbon is stored (and then emitted) and how water and wildlife are affected.
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