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An estimate of the number of tropical tree species


Slik, J W Ferry; Kessler, Michael; et al (2015). An estimate of the number of tropical tree species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(24):2472-2477.

Abstract

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼40,000 and ∼53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼19,000–25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼4,500–6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.

Abstract

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼40,000 and ∼53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼19,000–25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼4,500–6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:09 Jun 2015 11:25
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 13:12
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
Additional Information:Correction of this article can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/33/E4628.short
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1423147112
PubMed ID:26034279

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