Diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma'an rain forest, Cameroon: do tree species tell it all?

M.G.P. Tchouto, W.F. de Boer, J.J.F.E. de Wilde, L.J.G. van der Maesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study describes diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma¿an rain forest, in south Cameroon. In this area, the structure and composition of the forests change progressively from the coastal forest on sandy shorelines through the lowland evergreen forest rich in Caesalpinioideae with Calpocalyx heitzii and Sacoglottis gabonensis, to the submontane forest at higher elevations and the mixed evergreen and semi-deciduous forest in the drier Ma¿an area. We tested whether there is a correlation between tree species diversity and diversity of other growth forms such as shrubs, herbs, and lianas in order to understand if, in the context of African tropical rain forest, tree species diversity mirrors the diversity of other life forms or strata. Are forests that are rich in tree species also rich in other life forms? To answer this question, we analysed the family and species level floristic richness and diversity of the various growth forms and forest strata within 145 plots recorded in 6 main vegetation types. A comparison of the diversity within forest layers and within growth forms was done using General Linear Models. The results showed that tree species accounted for 46% of the total number of vascular plant species with DBH ¿1 cm, shrubs/small trees 39%, climbers 14% and herbs less than 1%. Only 22% of the diversity of shrubs and lianas could be explained by the diversity of large and medium sized trees, and less than 1% of herb diversity was explained by tree diversity. The shrub layer was by far the most species rich, with both a higher number of species per plot, and a higher Shannon diversity index, than the tree and the herb layer. More than 82% of tree species, 90% of shrubs, 78% of lianas and 70% of herbaceous species were recorded in the shrub layer. Moreover, shrubs contributed for 38% of the 114 strict and narrow endemic plant species recorded in the area, herbs 29%, trees only 20% and climbers 11%. These results indicate that the diversity of trees might not always reflect the overall diversity of the forest in the Campo-Ma¿an area, and therefore it may not be a good indicator for the diversity of shrubs and herbaceous species. Furthermore, this suggests that biodiversity surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species (DBH ¿0cm) are not an adequate method for the assessment of plant diversity because other growth form such as shrubs, climbers and herbs are under-represented. Therefore, inventory design based on small plots of 0.1 ha, in which all vascular plants with DBH ¿1 cm are recorded, is a more appropriate sampling method for biodiversity assessments than surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1374
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Fingerprint

Cameroon
rain forests
flora
shrubs
shrub
herbs
herb
growth form
lianas
Calpocalyx
vascular plants
vascular plant
rain forest
species diversity
biodiversity
Caesalpinioideae
coastal forests
tropical rain forests
evergreen forest
deciduous forests

Keywords

  • floristic composition
  • amazonian ecuador
  • national-park
  • lianas
  • richness

Cite this

Tchouto, M.G.P. ; de Boer, W.F. ; de Wilde, J.J.F.E. ; van der Maesen, L.J.G. / Diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma'an rain forest, Cameroon: do tree species tell it all?. In: Biodiversity and Conservation. 2006 ; Vol. 15, No. 4. pp. 1353-1374.
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title = "Diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma'an rain forest, Cameroon: do tree species tell it all?",
abstract = "This study describes diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma¿an rain forest, in south Cameroon. In this area, the structure and composition of the forests change progressively from the coastal forest on sandy shorelines through the lowland evergreen forest rich in Caesalpinioideae with Calpocalyx heitzii and Sacoglottis gabonensis, to the submontane forest at higher elevations and the mixed evergreen and semi-deciduous forest in the drier Ma¿an area. We tested whether there is a correlation between tree species diversity and diversity of other growth forms such as shrubs, herbs, and lianas in order to understand if, in the context of African tropical rain forest, tree species diversity mirrors the diversity of other life forms or strata. Are forests that are rich in tree species also rich in other life forms? To answer this question, we analysed the family and species level floristic richness and diversity of the various growth forms and forest strata within 145 plots recorded in 6 main vegetation types. A comparison of the diversity within forest layers and within growth forms was done using General Linear Models. The results showed that tree species accounted for 46{\%} of the total number of vascular plant species with DBH ¿1 cm, shrubs/small trees 39{\%}, climbers 14{\%} and herbs less than 1{\%}. Only 22{\%} of the diversity of shrubs and lianas could be explained by the diversity of large and medium sized trees, and less than 1{\%} of herb diversity was explained by tree diversity. The shrub layer was by far the most species rich, with both a higher number of species per plot, and a higher Shannon diversity index, than the tree and the herb layer. More than 82{\%} of tree species, 90{\%} of shrubs, 78{\%} of lianas and 70{\%} of herbaceous species were recorded in the shrub layer. Moreover, shrubs contributed for 38{\%} of the 114 strict and narrow endemic plant species recorded in the area, herbs 29{\%}, trees only 20{\%} and climbers 11{\%}. These results indicate that the diversity of trees might not always reflect the overall diversity of the forest in the Campo-Ma¿an area, and therefore it may not be a good indicator for the diversity of shrubs and herbaceous species. Furthermore, this suggests that biodiversity surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species (DBH ¿0cm) are not an adequate method for the assessment of plant diversity because other growth form such as shrubs, climbers and herbs are under-represented. Therefore, inventory design based on small plots of 0.1 ha, in which all vascular plants with DBH ¿1 cm are recorded, is a more appropriate sampling method for biodiversity assessments than surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species.",
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Diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma'an rain forest, Cameroon: do tree species tell it all? / Tchouto, M.G.P.; de Boer, W.F.; de Wilde, J.J.F.E.; van der Maesen, L.J.G.

In: Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2006, p. 1353-1374.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma'an rain forest, Cameroon: do tree species tell it all?

AU - Tchouto, M.G.P.

AU - de Boer, W.F.

AU - de Wilde, J.J.F.E.

AU - van der Maesen, L.J.G.

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - This study describes diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma¿an rain forest, in south Cameroon. In this area, the structure and composition of the forests change progressively from the coastal forest on sandy shorelines through the lowland evergreen forest rich in Caesalpinioideae with Calpocalyx heitzii and Sacoglottis gabonensis, to the submontane forest at higher elevations and the mixed evergreen and semi-deciduous forest in the drier Ma¿an area. We tested whether there is a correlation between tree species diversity and diversity of other growth forms such as shrubs, herbs, and lianas in order to understand if, in the context of African tropical rain forest, tree species diversity mirrors the diversity of other life forms or strata. Are forests that are rich in tree species also rich in other life forms? To answer this question, we analysed the family and species level floristic richness and diversity of the various growth forms and forest strata within 145 plots recorded in 6 main vegetation types. A comparison of the diversity within forest layers and within growth forms was done using General Linear Models. The results showed that tree species accounted for 46% of the total number of vascular plant species with DBH ¿1 cm, shrubs/small trees 39%, climbers 14% and herbs less than 1%. Only 22% of the diversity of shrubs and lianas could be explained by the diversity of large and medium sized trees, and less than 1% of herb diversity was explained by tree diversity. The shrub layer was by far the most species rich, with both a higher number of species per plot, and a higher Shannon diversity index, than the tree and the herb layer. More than 82% of tree species, 90% of shrubs, 78% of lianas and 70% of herbaceous species were recorded in the shrub layer. Moreover, shrubs contributed for 38% of the 114 strict and narrow endemic plant species recorded in the area, herbs 29%, trees only 20% and climbers 11%. These results indicate that the diversity of trees might not always reflect the overall diversity of the forest in the Campo-Ma¿an area, and therefore it may not be a good indicator for the diversity of shrubs and herbaceous species. Furthermore, this suggests that biodiversity surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species (DBH ¿0cm) are not an adequate method for the assessment of plant diversity because other growth form such as shrubs, climbers and herbs are under-represented. Therefore, inventory design based on small plots of 0.1 ha, in which all vascular plants with DBH ¿1 cm are recorded, is a more appropriate sampling method for biodiversity assessments than surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species.

AB - This study describes diversity patterns in the flora of the Campo-Ma¿an rain forest, in south Cameroon. In this area, the structure and composition of the forests change progressively from the coastal forest on sandy shorelines through the lowland evergreen forest rich in Caesalpinioideae with Calpocalyx heitzii and Sacoglottis gabonensis, to the submontane forest at higher elevations and the mixed evergreen and semi-deciduous forest in the drier Ma¿an area. We tested whether there is a correlation between tree species diversity and diversity of other growth forms such as shrubs, herbs, and lianas in order to understand if, in the context of African tropical rain forest, tree species diversity mirrors the diversity of other life forms or strata. Are forests that are rich in tree species also rich in other life forms? To answer this question, we analysed the family and species level floristic richness and diversity of the various growth forms and forest strata within 145 plots recorded in 6 main vegetation types. A comparison of the diversity within forest layers and within growth forms was done using General Linear Models. The results showed that tree species accounted for 46% of the total number of vascular plant species with DBH ¿1 cm, shrubs/small trees 39%, climbers 14% and herbs less than 1%. Only 22% of the diversity of shrubs and lianas could be explained by the diversity of large and medium sized trees, and less than 1% of herb diversity was explained by tree diversity. The shrub layer was by far the most species rich, with both a higher number of species per plot, and a higher Shannon diversity index, than the tree and the herb layer. More than 82% of tree species, 90% of shrubs, 78% of lianas and 70% of herbaceous species were recorded in the shrub layer. Moreover, shrubs contributed for 38% of the 114 strict and narrow endemic plant species recorded in the area, herbs 29%, trees only 20% and climbers 11%. These results indicate that the diversity of trees might not always reflect the overall diversity of the forest in the Campo-Ma¿an area, and therefore it may not be a good indicator for the diversity of shrubs and herbaceous species. Furthermore, this suggests that biodiversity surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species (DBH ¿0cm) are not an adequate method for the assessment of plant diversity because other growth form such as shrubs, climbers and herbs are under-represented. Therefore, inventory design based on small plots of 0.1 ha, in which all vascular plants with DBH ¿1 cm are recorded, is a more appropriate sampling method for biodiversity assessments than surveys based solely on large and medium sized tree species.

KW - floristic composition

KW - amazonian ecuador

KW - national-park

KW - lianas

KW - richness

U2 - 10.1007/s10531-005-5394-9

DO - 10.1007/s10531-005-5394-9

M3 - Article

VL - 15

SP - 1353

EP - 1374

JO - Biodiversity and Conservation

JF - Biodiversity and Conservation

SN - 0960-3115

IS - 4

ER -