Dominance, diversity and distribution of lianas in Yasuní, Ecuador: who is on top?


R Burnham

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Journal of Tropical Ecology


Lianas of YasuníNational Park and the Huaorani Ethnic Reserve, Ecuador were sampled using 0.2-ha subsamples from 12 1-ha plots. Using surveys and herbarium collections, the total species richness of lianas in the park and reserve is estimated to be close to 500 species. Terra firme habitats are significantly more species rich than floodplain habitats, but density of stems is not significantly different between habitats. The most abundant liana species is Machaerium cuspidatum Kuhlm. & Hoehne (Fabaceae) in both floodplain and terra firme habitats, representing more than 10% of all stems in census plots. Analysis of rarity indicates that none of the liana species encountered on the 12 plots is rare in terms of geographic range, and many species are not rare in terms of population size or habitat specificity. The rank order of abundance, combined with the coefficient of variability in species distribution among plots, is used to identify the 38 species (an oligarchy) that dominate forests in Yasuní.

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