, Volume 212, Issue 7, pp 1159-1177

Spatial distribution and floristic composition of trees and lianas in different forest types of an Amazonian rainforest

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Abstract

A quantitative inventory of trees and lianas was conducted (1) to compare floristic composition, diversity and stem density variation between three different forest types (tierra firme, floodplain and swamp), and (2) to analyse the relationships between floristic similarity and forest structure in two regions ~60 km apart in Yasuní National Park, Amazonian Ecuador. A total of 1,087 species with a diameter at breast height ≥ 2.5 cm were recorded in 25 0.1-ha plots. Tierra firme was the habitat with the highest number of species and stem density for trees and lianas, followed by floodplain and swamp in both regions. Two hypotheses that have been independently proposed to describe plant distribution in tropical rain forests, together explain species spatial distribution in this study. The fact that the 30 most important species per forest type (totalling 119 species) accounted for 48.2% of total individuals supports the oligarchy hypothesis. Likewise, 28 out of these 119 species are reported as restricted to a single forest type, which supports the environmental-determinism hypothesis. In general, both canopy and understorey trees and lianas showed rather similar floristic patterns across different forest types and regions.