Many Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest plant and animal species are geographically restricted to Southern Bahia and Northern Espírito Santo States. We investigated the geographic distribution of epiphytic bromeliads in the lowland forest of the Una region (15° 17' 34' S - 39° 04' 30'' W) in Southern Bahia. Specifically, we addressed the following questions: i) what is the extent of each species distribution?; and ii) are the Bromeliaceae subfamilies distributed differently from one another? Almost half of the 40 species (47.5%) occur exclusively in the Southern Bahia-Northern Espírito Santo region and are herein referred as endemic species. The highest percentage of the 15 species of Tillandsioideae (46.7%) occur throughout the South American Continent and most of the 25 species of Bromelioideae (68.0%) are mainly represented by endemic species. The Una region has almost two times more species than a forested area located 40 km west, suggesting marked increases in diversity in over relatively short distances. The endemism data around Una indicates that species are geographically distributed over an area spanning approximately six to seven degrees in latitude and longitude. This result contrasts with the geographic distribution of Andean epiphytes, mainly represented by Tillandsioideae, that have large geographical distributions. Larger-scale analyses and standardized methods are necessary to verify whether the narrow geographical distribution of most epiphytic bromeliads in the Una region is consistent across different forest types of the Atlantic Rainforest.
Atlantic Rainforest; Bromeliaceae; endemism; geographic distribution; epiphytes