36 research outputs found

    Reestablishment of Protium cordatum (Burseraceae) based on integrative taxonomy

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    Species delimitation remains a challenge worldwide, but especially in biodiversity hotspots such as the Amazon. Here, we use an integrative taxonomic approach that combines data from morphology, phylogenomics, and leaf spectroscopy to clarify the species limits within the Protium heptaphyllum species complex, which includes subsp. cordatum, subsp. heptaphyllum, and subsp. ulei. Molecular phylogeny indicates that populations of subsp. cordatum do not belong to the P. heptaphyllum clade, while morphology and near-infrared spectroscopy data provide additional support for the recognition of a separate taxon. Protium cordatum (Burseraceae) is reinstated at species rank and described in detail. As circumscribed here, P. cordatum is endemic to white-sand savannas located in the Faro and Tucuruí Districts, Pará State, Brazil, whereas P. heptaphyllum is a dominant and widespread plant lineage found in Amazonia, the Cerrado, and the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. We present an identification key to P. cordatum and closely related lineages and a detailed taxonomic description of P. cordatum, including habitat and distribution, a list and images of diagnostic features. This study demonstrates the importance of using multiple tools to characterize and distinguish plant species in highly diverse tropical regions. © 2019 International Association for Plant Taxonomy

    Decomposition rates of coarse woody debris in undisturbed Amazonian seasonally flooded and unflooded forests in the Rio Negro-Rio Branco Basin in Roraima, Brazil

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    Estimates of carbon-stock changes in forest ecosystems require information on dead wood decomposition rates. In the Amazon, the lack of data is dramatic due to the small number of studies and the large range of forest types. The aim of this study was to estimate the decomposition rate of coarse woody debris (CWD) in two oligotrophic undisturbed forest formations of the northern Brazilian Amazon: seasonally flooded and unflooded. We analyzed 20 arboreal individuals (11 tree species and 3 palm species) with distinct wood-density categories. The mean annual decomposition rate of all samples independent of forest formation ranged from 0.044 to 0.963 yr−1, considering two observation periods (12 and 24 months). The highest rate (0.732 ± 0.206 [SD] yr−1) was observed for the lowest wood-density class of palms, whereas the lowest rate (0.119 ± 0.101 yr−1) was determined for trees with high wood density. In terms of forest formation, the rates values differ when weighted by the wood-density classes, indicating that unflooded forest (0.181 ± 0.083 [SE] yr−1; mean decay time 11–30 years) has a decomposition rate ∼19% higher than the seasonally flooded formations (0.152 ± 0.072 yr−1; 13–37 years). This result reflects the dominance of species with high wood density in seasonally flooded formations. In both formations 95% of the dead wood is expected to disappear within 30–40 years. Based on our results, we conclude that the CWD decomposition in the studied area is slower in forests on nutrient-poor seasonally flooded soils, where structure and species composition result in ∼40% of the aboveground biomass being in tree species with high wood density. Thus, it is estimated that CWD in seasonally flooded forest formations has longer residence time and slower carbon release by decomposition (respiration) than in unflooded forests. These results improve our ability to model stocks and fluxes of carbon derived from decomposition of dead wood in undisturbed oligotrophic forests in the Rio Negro-Rio Branco Basin, northern Brazilian Amazon. © 2017 The Author

    Madagascar’s extraordinary biodiversity: Threats and opportunities

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    Madagascar's unique biota is heavily affected by human activity and is under intense threat. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the conservation status of Madagascar's terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity by presenting data and analyses on documented and predicted species-level conservation statuses, the most prevalent and relevant threats, ex situ collections and programs, and the coverage and comprehensiveness of protected areas. The existing terrestrial protected area network in Madagascar covers 10.4% of its land area and includes at least part of the range of the majority of described native species of vertebrates with known distributions (97.1% of freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals combined) and plants (67.7%). The overall figures are higher for threatened species (97.7% of threatened vertebrates and 79.6% of threatened plants occurring within at least one protected area). International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments and Bayesian neural network analyses for plants identify overexploitation of biological resources and unsustainable agriculture as themost prominent threats to biodiversity. We highlight five opportunities for action at multiple levels to ensure that conservation and ecological restoration objectives, programs, and activities take account of complex underlying and interacting factors and produce tangible benefits for the biodiversity and people of Madagascar

    Mapping density, diversity and species-richness of the Amazon tree flora

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    Using 2.046 botanically-inventoried tree plots across the largest tropical forest on Earth, we mapped tree species-diversity and tree species-richness at 0.1-degree resolution, and investigated drivers for diversity and richness. Using only location, stratified by forest type, as predictor, our spatial model, to the best of our knowledge, provides the most accurate map of tree diversity in Amazonia to date, explaining approximately 70% of the tree diversity and species-richness. Large soil-forest combinations determine a significant percentage of the variation in tree species-richness and tree alpha-diversity in Amazonian forest-plots. We suggest that the size and fragmentation of these systems drive their large-scale diversity patterns and hence local diversity. A model not using location but cumulative water deficit, tree density, and temperature seasonality explains 47% of the tree species-richness in the terra-firme forest in Amazonia. Over large areas across Amazonia, residuals of this relationship are small and poorly spatially structured, suggesting that much of the residual variation may be local. The Guyana Shield area has consistently negative residuals, showing that this area has lower tree species-richness than expected by our models. We provide extensive plot meta-data, including tree density, tree alpha-diversity and tree species-richness results and gridded maps at 0.1-degree resolution