, Volume 729, Issue 1, pp 229–246 | Cite as

Floristic variation across 600 km of inundation forests (Igapó) along the Negro River, Central Amazonia

  • Juan Carlos Montero
  • Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade
  • Florian Wittmann


We inventoried 10 ha of late-successional and seasonally inundated black-water floodplain (igapó) forest along four river sections of the Negro River, Central Amazonia, Brazil. The aim of the study was to test if tree species composition and diversity changes along the river course, and whether these changes reflect the different geological formations of the Negro River. On a continental-wide scale, we assessed alpha-diversity patterns of black-water flooded forests across the Amazon and Orinoco basins. Phytosociological analyses include family and species importance, species similarity, and Fisher’s alpha-diversity, as well as Detrended Correspondence Analysis. A total of 6.126 individuals were recorded, belonging to 243 tree species. Only few tree species occurred in more than one river section, and floristic composition changed abruptly from one section to the other. Tree species richness ranged from 57 to 79 species ha−1, and alpha-diversity was highest (27.24) in the lower river section upon sediments of Pliocene–Pleistocene origin. We found a gradual decrease in species diversity with increasing age of the geological formations. The igapó forest is relatively species-poor, which we interpret to be the result of general low nutrient availability in alluvial substrates of the Negro River.


Black-water Central Amazonia Diversity gradients Geological formation Late-successional forest Tree species composition 



Financial support for the field work was provided by PRONEX (MCT-FAPEAM-CNPq) 2007—“Tipologias Alagáveis”. Logistical assistance was organized by the INPA/Max Planck project in Manaus. We also acknowledge the valuable support of field assistants, especial thanks to José Lima and Francisco Quintiliano who greatly contributed to the identification in situ of trees and encouraged discussions about the distribution of Amazonian trees. We thank Mark Bilton for improving the English of a preliminary version and James Johnson for a final revision of the manuscript. Two reviewers are acknowledged for valuable suggestions. The results presented in this article are part of the doctorate thesis carried out by JCM at the Institute of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, Germany.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Carlos Montero
    • 1
  • Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade
    • 2
  • Florian Wittmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of SilvicultureUniversity of FreiburgFreiburg i. Br.Germany
  2. 2.National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA)ManausBrazil
  3. 3.Biogeochemistry DepartmentMax Planck Institute for ChemistryMainzGermany

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