Amazonian ecosystems generally have high species diversity. A floristic and phytosociological analysis was undertaken in 0.05 ha of terra firme primary forest understory in Central Amazonia (60º12'40"W, 2º35'45"S). Vascular plants were divided into four size categories: C1 (height < 0.5m), C2 (0.5m <height < 1.5m), C3 (1.5m < height < 3.0m), and C4 (height > 3.0m, and CBH > 0,3m). The plot contained 2434 plants belonging to 67 families, 163 genera and 355 species. Families richest in species were Fabaceae (27), Mimosaceae (22), Lauraceae (21), Caesalpiniaceae (18) and Rubiaceae (18). The greatest density of individuals was found in the families Marantaceae (209), Chrysobalanaceae (198), Mimosaceae (191), Burseraceae (175), Annonaceae (172) and Arecaceae (137). The two smallest height categories (C1 and C2) had the most individuals, most species and highest floristic similarity between pairs of categories. Species showing highest ecological importance (based on natural regeneration index and sociological position value) in the understory were Licania caudata Prance, Duguetia flagellaris Huber, Monotagma tuberosum Hagberg, Protium apiculatum Swart and Pariana cf. campestris Aubl. An aggregated spatial distribution pattern was found for all but one of the thirty species with highest ecological importance among all size classes.
Phytosociology; Diversity; Understory; Central Amazonia