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FLORISTIC ANALYSIS OF THE TREE COMPONENT OF ATLANTIC FOREST AREAS IN CENTRAL EASTERN BRAZIL

ABSTRACT

Variations in tree species composition of 60 areas of atlantic forest sensu lato (rain-and semideciduous forests) of Central-Eastern Brazil are analyzed in combination with geographic and climatic variables. Floristic checklists are provided for 16 areas. Multivariate analyses detected three main distribution patterns. (a) Differentiation between rain-and semideciduous forests in the region is floristically consistent and strongly correlated with rainfall seasonality. To a considerable extent, the tree flora of semideciduous forests is a subset of that of rainforests, extracting species that are more efficient in coping with a longer dry season. (b) There is a latitudinal differentiation for both rain-and semideciduous forests, that draws the two physiognomies together floristically present within the same latitudinal range. This pattern is probably caused by variations of both temperature and rainfall. The rainforests are interrupted in northern Rio de Janeiro state, dueto the seasonal climate, but this has no counterpart in disrupted species distribution.(c) Variations in altitud eare strongly correlated to internal variations of both rain-and semideciduous forests.

Key-words:
phytogeography; tree flora; Eastern Brazil; Atlantic Forest

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