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Low floristic richness of afro-alpine vegetation of Mount Kenya is related to its small area

  • Vladimir G. Onipchenko
  • Natalia A. Kopylova
  • Alii M. Kipkeev
  • Tatiana G. Elumeeva
  • Andrei Azovsky
  • Sergei V. Dudov
  • Justine M. NyagaEmail author
Original Article
  • 68 Downloads

Abstract

Diversity patterns of tropical alpine vegetation is poorly studied. We estimated vascular plant floristic richness for two typical afro-alpine communities in Mount Kenya using a series of nested plots sized from 25 to 100 m2. The α-diversity was low for all plot sizes (4.8–7.8 and 12.8 species per one and 100 m2, respectively). Comparative analysis of α-, β- and γ-diversity across 22 plant communities from five Mountain regions (Mount Kenya, European Alps, Caucasus, Tibet, New Zealand Alps) revealed that area of mountain system was the only significant variable shaping the local richness; this effect became stronger with increasing spatial scale. Beta-diversity, by contrast, showed neither latitudinal trends nor significant correlation with other geographical or climatic variables. We conclude that the total area of mountain system is one of the main factors determining the regional species pool and, ultimately, the local diversity of alpine plant communities (the “echo-effect”). Small area and isolation of Mt. Kenya are considered as the main reasons for low local richness of its afro-alpine vegetation.

Keywords

Species–area relationship Floristic richness Alpha-diversity Beta-diversity Mt. Kenya Afro-alpine Tropical alpine Plant communities 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank M. Pärtel for useful notes for the paper. The work was supported by the governmental contract of MSU AAAA-A16-116021660037-7.

Author contributions

VGO, NAK, AMK and JMN designed the research, VGO, AMK and JMN conducted the research and VGO, NAK, AMK, TGE, AA, SVD and JMN analyzed the data and wrote the article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any data collected from human participants or animals and, therefore, did not require any ethical approval.

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Copyright information

© Swiss Botanical Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biological FacultyMoscow State Lomonosov UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of EmbuEmbuKenya

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