Species composition of climbers in seasonal semideciduous forest fragments of Southeastern Brazil
In this study we evaluated floristic composition patterns of communities of climbers within ten inventories carried out in semideciduous forest fragments of southeastern Brazil. One of the inventories is original, being carried out for the present study in RibeirÃ£o Cachoeira forest, Campinas, SÃ£o Paulo State, Southeastern Brazil. This inventory was then pooled together to other nine climbersâ€™ inventories made in other forests of Southeastern Brazil to form a data base, which was examined regarding species richness, similarity, species distribution and climbing methods. The total number of species obtained was 355, belonging to 145 genera and 43 families. The ten most diverse families Bignoniaceae (45 species), Fabaceae (42), Malpighiaceae (36), Asteraceae (31), Apocynaceae (29), Sapindaceae (28), Convolvulaceae (21), Cucurbitaceae (14), Passifloraceae (10), and Euphorbiaceae (8) contributed to 74.4% of the total number of species recorded. The commonest climbing method in the studied sites was main stem or branch twining, accounting for 178 species or 50.1% of the total, the second commonest was tendril climbing (121 species, 34.1%), and the least, scrambling (56 species, 15.8%). We found a high percentage of exclusive species i.e., those occurring in only one forest site, which accounted for 49.3% of the total recorded. The mean similarity among forest sites (30%) may be considered low. The climbing species contribution to the total wood plant richness recorded on the forests sites was very high in some of the sites (up to 52.5%). These results indicated the importance of climber communities to plant diversity for semideciduous forests in Southeastern Brazil, enhancing the regional diversity and the conservation value of these forest remnants.