Plant Diversity in Tropical Forests

Authored by: S. Joseph Wright

Functiona Plant Ecology

Print publication date:  June  2007
Online publication date:  June  2007

Print ISBN: 9780849374883
eBook ISBN: 9781420007626
Adobe ISBN:


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Plant species diversity is greatest in tropical forest. The highest plant species density yet recorded, 365 species in just 1000 m2, is for the only complete enumeration of tropical forest plants (Gentry and Dodson 1987). The diversity of lowland tropical forest at a local scale may exceed the diversity of extratropical forests at a continental scale. The combined temperate forests of Europe, North America, and Asia support 1166 tree species in 4.2 x 106 km2 (Latham and Ricklefs 1993). In contrast, 1175 tree species occur in just 0.5 km2 of lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo (LaFrankie 1996). Trees comprise just 25% of the plant species in tropical rain forests (Gentry and Dodson 1987). There are 65% of all flowering plant species, 92% of fern species, and 75% of moss species that are tropical (Prance 1977).

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