Gómez González, Diana C. and Rodríguez Quiel, Calixto and Zotz, Gerhard and Bader, Maaike Y. (2017) Species richness and biomass of epiphytic vegetation in a tropical montane forest in Western Panama. Tropical conservation science, 10. ISSN 1940-0829

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In tropical montane forests epiphytes represent a substantial proportion of biodiversity and green biomass, particularly where fog occurs almost daily. Epiphytes play important ecological roles in these ecosystems, for example, in forest hydrology and in amplifying arthropod biodiversity, but quantitative assessments of epiphytic biomass and species diversity are rare. Such data are important, however, for a better understanding on their ecological roles and as a baseline for detecting ecological change due to climate or land-use changes. In a tropical lower montane cloud forest (c. 1,150 m above sea level) in Panama, we identified and weighed all epiphytic matter, which includes vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens, and dead organic matter from the trunks of 22 trees varying in diameters at breast height and 28 canopy branches. Additionally, we collected epiphytic matter in the understory in 22 plots of 2 × 2 m. A total of 155 species of vascular epiphytes, hemiepiphytes, and nomadic vines were found. Orchidaceae were by far the most species-rich family, followed by Araceae and Bromeliaceae. The vertical distribution of these species in the forest showed species-specific vertical preferences, but species numbers varied little in undergrowth, trunks, and tree crowns. Epiphytic matter was positively related to tree size, and we used tree-size data inventory data from a nearby 1-ha plot to extrapolate our findings to the plot level. The resulting estimate of 16,439 kg ha−1 for total epiphytic matter and 6,214 kg ha−1 for living plants, the latter representing about 2% of aboveground forest biomass.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publiziert mit Hilfe des DFG-geförderten Open Access-Publikationsfonds der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
Uncontrolled Keywords: biomass, cloud forest, epiphytes, hemiepiphytes, species richness
Subjects: Science and mathematics > Life sciences, biology
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Science > Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences (IBU)
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 11:24
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2017 11:45
URI: https://oops.uni-oldenburg.de/id/eprint/3314
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:715-oops-33955
DOI: 10.1177/1940082917698468

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