Constant tree species richness along an elevational gradient of Mt. Bokor, a table-shaped mountain in southwestern Cambodia
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- Zhang, M., Tagane, S., Toyama, H. et al. Ecol Res (2016) 31: 495. doi:10.1007/s11284-016-1358-7
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Some previous studies along an elevational gradient on a tropical mountain documented that plant species richness decreases with increasing elevation. However, most of studies did not attempt to standardize the amount of sampling effort. In this paper, we employed a standardized sampling effort to study tree species richness along an elevational gradient on Mt. Bokor, a table-shaped mountain in southwestern Cambodia, and examined relationships between tree species richness and environmental factors. We used two methods to record tree species richness: first, we recorded trees taller than 4 m in 20 uniform plots (5 × 100 m) placed at 266–1048-m elevation; and second, we collected specimens along an elevational gradient from 200 to 1048 m. For both datasets, we applied rarefaction and a Chao1 estimator to standardize the sampling efforts. A generalized linear model (GLM) was used to test the relationship of species richness with elevation. We recorded 308 tree species from 20 plots and 389 tree species from the general collections. Species richness observed in 20 plots had a weak but non-significant correlation with elevation. Species richness estimated by rarefaction or Chao1 from both data sets also showed no significant correlations with elevation. Unlike many previous studies, tree species richness was nearly constant along the elevational gradient of Mt. Bokor where temperature and precipitation are expected to vary. We suggest that the table-shaped landscape of Mt. Bokor, where elevational interval areas do not significantly change between 200 and 900 m, may be a determinant of this constant species richness.