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Beta-diversity in seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTF) in the Caatinga Biogeographic Domain, Brazil, and its implications for conservation

Abstract

Tropical biomes are species rich, but some biomes such as seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs) are still inadequately studied compared to their co-occurring rain forest and savanna. SDTFs occur in areas of high environmental heterogeneity, resulting in high beta (β)-diversity or species turnover, but this has so far only been accessed using a single β-diversity measure, and at a spatial scale that is of limited applicability for reserve planning. The Caatinga Biogeographic Domain in Brazil contains the largest known extent of SDTF which are poorly studied and inadequately reserved. We therefore studied the variation in species richness and species turnover among SDTF between localities and between known floristic communities. From six localities within the Caatinga Biogeographic Domain we recorded all tree species with a circumference at breast height equaling or exceeding 10 cm within 106 400 m2 survey plots. From the species presence/absence data we calculated three measures of β-diversity between pairs of study localities and between different floristic communities representing: (i) species similarity, (ii) differences between species richness, and (iii) species gain and loss. Our results confirm the high β-diversity of SDTFs and species turnover between localities and also between floristic communities. The three indices were also complementary to each other and can be used to maximize accuracy in β-diversity studies. The implications of our study for conservation and reserve planning of SDTFs are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the rangers of Cavernas do Peruaçú National Park for processing permits. This research was carried out as part of a Masters study by D. M. G. A under a grant given to R. M. d. S by the Coordenadoria de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) funding agency. We also acknowledge the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG) funding agency for help with research funding. D. M. G. A. is also grateful to the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Capes), Ministry of Education, Brazil, for the Ph. D. fellowship (CGBE/BEX—Proc. 18961-12-6).

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Correspondence to Deborah Mattos Guimarães Apgaua.

Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 3 and 4.

Table 3 Matrix table of the percentages of shared species between seasonally dry tropical forest study localities in northern Minas Gerais and southwest Bahia, Brazil
Table 4 Matrix table of the percentages of shared species between seasonally dry tropical forest floristic communities in northern Minas Gerais and southwest Bahia, Brazil

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Apgaua, D.M.G., dos Santos, R.M., Pereira, D.G.S. et al. Beta-diversity in seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTF) in the Caatinga Biogeographic Domain, Brazil, and its implications for conservation. Biodivers Conserv 23, 217–232 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-013-0599-9

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Keywords

  • Beta-diversity
  • Caatinga
  • Deciduous dry forests
  • Seasonally dry tropical forest
  • Species turnover
  • Tropical biomes