Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 1025–1045 | Cite as

Palms as rainforest resources: how evenly are they distributed in Peruvian Amazonia?

  • Jaana Vormisto


The distribution and the abundance of a species define the limits of itspotential use. Despite this simple fact, there are only a few studies thathave quantified the actual abundance and the distribution of species/resourcesin Amazonian rainforests, especially within unflooded (tierra firme) forests.The present study focused on the distributions and the abundances of palms,since they are both structurally important and widely utilized in the forests ofAmazonia. The similarity of the palm communities at eight different sites intierra firme forests of Peruvian Amazonia were examined, and the eighteconomically most important palm species were selected for more detailed studieson abundance and population structure. The results showed that both the overallpalm community composition and the abundances of the eight focal palm speciesvaried among the sites, and that these differences in abundances were related tothe amount of exchangeable cations in the soils. Population structure differedbetween growth forms: large, solitary palm species were mainly represented byseedlings and juveniles, whereas small, clonal palm species had very fewseedlings. The great variability in abundance of palm species should be takeninto account when estimating the availability of palm resources, as well as inconservation planning of the palm species in an area of interest.

Abundances Arecaceae Distribution patterns Non-timber forest products Peru Utilization potential 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaana Vormisto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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