, Volume 13, Issue 13, pp 2453-2483

Floristic composition, structure, and diversity of four forest plots in the Sierra Maigualida, Venezuelan Guayana

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Abstract

A phytosociological study was carried out in four 1-ha forest plots in the Sierra Maigualida region, Venezuelan Guayana. Density, dominance, and frequency values were calculated as well as the species and family importance values (FIVs) in each plot. A total of 65 families, 232 genera and 533 species were represented in the 4 ha of forest. The number of stems ≥10 cm dbh varied from 355 to 563, the number of species from 133 to 191, the genera from 76 to 120, the families from 38 to 51, and the basal area from 20.56 to 40.83 m2 per hectare. Overall the most species rich family was Fabaceae (38 species), the most numerous in total stems was Burseraceae (165 individuals), and the most dominant in terms of basal area was Sapotaceae (1367.13 cm2). The most conspicuous families, as represented among the top five FIV, include Burseraceae in all four plots, Moraceae in three of the plots, and Sapotaceae in two plots. Less than 20% of the total inventory of species are represented in two or more plots. The percentages of species which are unique to a single plot range from 56 to 67%. The within-plot diversities recorded in the present study indicate that the Sierra Maiguailida harbors the richest forests thus far documented in Venezuelan Guayana. Meanwhile, the low between-plot similarity indices reinforce the notion that the species richness of this region is unusually high and suggest the need to extend collections and inventory studies.