, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 1441-1457

The Role of Landscape Patterns of Habitat Types on Plant Species Diversity of a Tropical Forest in Mexico

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Abstract

The relationships among landscape characteristics and plant diversity in tropical forests may be used to predict biodiversity. To identify and characterize them, the number of species, as well as Shannon and Simpson diversity indices were calculated from 157 sampling quadrats (17,941 individuals sampled) while the vegetation classes were obtained from multi-spectral satellite image classification in four landscapes located in the southeast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The mean number of species of trees, shrubs and vines as well as the mean value of the total number of species and the other two diversity indices were calculated for four vegetation classes in every one of the four landscapes. In addition, the relationships between landscape patterns metrics of patch types and diversity indices were explored. The multiple statistical analyses revealed significant predictor variables for the three diversity indices. Moreover, the shape, similarity and edge contrast metrics of patch types might serve as useful indicators for the number of species and the other two diversity variables at the landscape scale. Although the association between the three diversity indices and patch types metrics showed similar behavior, some differences were appreciated. The Shannon diversity index, with its greater sensitivity to rare species, should be considered as having a greater importance in interpretation analysis than Simpson index.