Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 8, Issue 9, pp 1245–1259

Geographic distribution of tree species occurring in the region of Manaus, Brazil: implications for regional diversity and conservation

  • Alexandre A. De Oliveira
  • Douglas C. Daly


The alpha-diversity of trees found in the region of Manaus, Brazil is among the highest recorded for one-hectare plots in Amazonia or any tropical forest. Based on a survey of the distributions of 2541 Neotropical tree species, we analyzed the geographic distribution of 364 species of terra firme forest trees that occur in the region and that are not edaphic specialists. Fifteen distinct distribution patterns were recognized for trees occurring in Manaus. The great majority of species (84.9%) have continuous, somewhat restricted distributions, 35 (9.6%) show broad distributions and 20 species (5.5%) show disjunction between Amazonia and Eastern Brazil. A remarkable 150 (41.2%) of these species showed the region of Manaus as one of their distribution limits. Using the same pool of 2541 species distributions, the percentage of species with a distribution limit in Manaus was compared with that for other localities known to be centers of botanical collection. The null hypothesis that the difference in proportion of species with distribution limits among these localities and Manaus is insignificant was rejected. We conclude that the results are not an artifact of collecting density, that Manaus is indeed a crossroads of distinct phytogeographic regions, and that this explains part of the high species diversity of trees in the region of Manaus. A number of scenarios proposed for the Pleistocene in Amazonia postulate some degree of fragmentation of Amazonian forests or at least populations. As much as these theories may conflict with each other in some respects, they are compatible with the concept of Manaus as a region of re-convergence of isolated or disrupted floras and faunas. The significance of the vicinity of Manaus in the history of the Amazon flora and its current status as a repository for surprisingly high tree diversity highlights the need to make this region a conservation priority.

alpha-diversity Amazonia conservation distribution patterns phytogeography Pleistocene refuge theory 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre A. De Oliveira
    • 1
  • Douglas C. Daly
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidade Paulista – UNIP. Lab. Botânica. Av. Paulista 900São Paulo-SPBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of Systematic BotanyThe New York Botanical GardenBronxUSA

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