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Title: Mesoscale gradients of herb richness and abundance in central Amazonia
Authors: Costa, Flávia Regina Capellotto
Keywords: Abundance
Climate Change
Environmental Gradient
Population Density
Soil Fertility
Soil Nutrient
Species Richness
Ducke Reserve
South America
Issue Date: 2006
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Biotropica
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 38, Número 6, Pags. 711-717
Abstract: There are few hypotheses to explain local understory diversity patterns. There is a consensus that climate and soil fertility affect understory density and diversity at large scales, but few studies addressed the mechanisms controlling density and diversity locally. Here, I examine patterns of abundance and diversity of three understory herb groups along gradients of soil nutrients and topography at the mesoscale (64 km2) in a wet tropical forest, and possible factors causing them. Herb richness, diversity, density, and cover were measured in fifty-nine 250 x 2 m plots systematically distributed over Reserva Ducke, Manaus. Herb groups responded differently to environmental gradients. Whereas density and cover of pteridophytes increased with altitude and slope, Marantaceae density and cover decreased. Density of sedges increased with altitude, but did not vary with slope. Density and cover of Marantaceae and sedges but not pteridophytes increased with the soil cation content. Pteridophyte richness increased with slope whereas Marantaceae richness decreased, richness of both groups increased with cation content. Diversity increased with altitude for Marantaceae and decreased for pteridophytes. Some of these patterns agree with what is expected from herbs, such as the greater abundance of Marantaceae and sedges in flat and low altitude plots, where water availability is higher and probably also light, and the greater richness of Marantaceae and pteridophytes in higher nutrient plots. The unexpected results of higher abundance and richness of pteridophytes in slopes, instead of in bottomlands, suggest that biotic or litter-mediated controls may be important to set these patterns. © 2006 The Author(s).
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2006.00211.x
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