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Title: Vertical distance from drainage drives floristic composition changes in an Amazonian rainforest
Authors: Schietti, Juliana
Emilio, Thaise
Rennó, Camilo Daleles
Drucker, Debora P.
Costa, Flávia Regina Capellotto
Nogueira, Anselmo
Baccaro, Fabricio Beggiato
Figueiredo, Fernando Oliveira Gouvêa
Castilho, Carolina Volkmer
Kinupp, Valdely Ferreira
Guillaumet, Jean Louis
Garcia, Ana Raquel M
Lima, Albertina Pimental
Magnusson, William Ernest
Issue Date: 2014
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Plant Ecology and Diversity
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 7, Número 1-2, Pags. 241-253
Abstract: Background: Plant composition changes with topography and edaphic gradients that correlate with soil-water and nutrient availability. Data on soil water for the Amazon Basin are scarce, limiting the possibility of distinguishing between soil and soil-water influences on plant composition. Aim: We tested a new proxy for water table depth, the terrain height above nearest drainage (HAND), as a predictor of composition in trees, lianas, palms, shrubs, and herbs and compared HAND to conventional measures of height above sea level (HASL) and horizontal distances from nearest drainage (HDND). Methods: Plant-species composition in 72 plots distributed across 64 km2 of lowland evergreen terra firme forest was summarised using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). NMDS scores were regressed against estimates of HAND, HASL and HDND. Results: Plant composition was highly correlated with the vertical distance from water table, capturing up to 82% of variation. All life forms showed highest turnover rates in the zone with seasonally water-saturated soils, which can extend 350 m from stream margins. Conclusions: Floristic composition is closely related to water table depth, and HAND appears to be the most robust available topographical metric of soil-water gradients. Brazilian conservation laws protecting 30-m-wide riparian buffers are likely to be too narrow to encompass the full zone of highest floristic turnover and may be ineffective in safeguarding riparian plant diversity. © 2014 Copyright 2013 Botanical Society of Scotland and Taylor & Francis.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1080/17550874.2013.783642
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