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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X


QUARESMA, Adriano C. et al. Composition, diversity and structure of vascular epiphytes in two contrasting Central Amazonian floodplain ecosystems. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.4, pp.686-697. ISSN 0102-3306.

Research focusing on assemblages of vascular epiphytes in the Amazon are scarce. This is especially true for Amazonian floodplain forests, for which only two previous studies have been published. We compared composition, richness and structure of epiphyte assemblages in white-water and black-water floodplains (várzea and igapó) in Central Amazonia in order to close knowledge gaps concerning the distribution and richness of epiphytes. We established sixteen 25x25 m plots in each forest type, and counted and identified all species of vascular epiphytes occurring on trees with a diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥10 cm. We observed a clear distinction in epiphytic species composition (r2=0.83, p=0.001) and diversity (t=3.24, P=0.003) between the two environments, with 61.5 % of species being restricted to várzea, 22.9 % restricted to igapó and only 15.6 % common to both ecosystems. The floodplains were also structurally different for the most abundant species and those with the highest Epiphytic Importance Value (IVe). The diversity of trees did not influence the epiphyte diversity in either ecosystem. The forests were found to differ in the composition, diversity and structure of their epiphytic assemblages, which must be taken into account when designing conservation action plans for these ecosystems and for their vascular epiphytes.

Keywords : Amazon; biodiversity; floodplains; igapó forests; várzea forests.

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