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Do ridge habitats contribute to pteridophyte diversity in tropical montane forests? A case study from southeastern Ecuador


Kessler, M; Lehnert, M (2009). Do ridge habitats contribute to pteridophyte diversity in tropical montane forests? A case study from southeastern Ecuador. Journal of Plant Research, 122(4):421-428.

Abstract

We address the question to which degree ridge habitats in tropical montane forests contribute to overall plant diversity by analysing patterns of pteridophyte (i.e. lycophytes and ferns) assemblages on ridges and slopes in three montane forest sites near Podocarpus National Park, Ecuador. The analyses, which involved 158 pteridophyte species (110 terrestrial, 96 epiphytic, 48 both) from 28 plots of 20 m x 20 m (or an equivalent of 400 m(2)), showed that more species were typical of one of the three study sites than of one of the two habitats (ridge/slope). As found in previous studies, alpha diversity on ridges was lower than on slopes, accounted for by the absence of numerous species that are found on slopes. Pteridophyte assemblages on ridges were more similar across study sites than those on slopes. Thus, unlike the structurally comparable (i.e. stunted, open) Amazonian forests, the studied montane ridge forests harbour fairly homogenous pteridophytes assemblages with very few specialised species. Our study implies that slope forests are of higher conservation priority for pteridophytes in the study region than ridge habitats. However, comparative studies are needed because other geographical regions and other groups of organisms may not share this pattern.

We address the question to which degree ridge habitats in tropical montane forests contribute to overall plant diversity by analysing patterns of pteridophyte (i.e. lycophytes and ferns) assemblages on ridges and slopes in three montane forest sites near Podocarpus National Park, Ecuador. The analyses, which involved 158 pteridophyte species (110 terrestrial, 96 epiphytic, 48 both) from 28 plots of 20 m x 20 m (or an equivalent of 400 m(2)), showed that more species were typical of one of the three study sites than of one of the two habitats (ridge/slope). As found in previous studies, alpha diversity on ridges was lower than on slopes, accounted for by the absence of numerous species that are found on slopes. Pteridophyte assemblages on ridges were more similar across study sites than those on slopes. Thus, unlike the structurally comparable (i.e. stunted, open) Amazonian forests, the studied montane ridge forests harbour fairly homogenous pteridophytes assemblages with very few specialised species. Our study implies that slope forests are of higher conservation priority for pteridophytes in the study region than ridge habitats. However, comparative studies are needed because other geographical regions and other groups of organisms may not share this pattern.

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5 citations in Web of Science®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Systematic Botany and Botanical Gardens
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:19 Aug 2009 14:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:19
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0918-9440
Additional Information:The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-009-0231-y
PubMed ID:19373521
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-20274

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