Does a ruderal strategy dominate the endemic flora of the West African forests?

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Abstract

Aim To understand the distribution pattern of endemic plant species in West African rain forests, one of the global priority areas for biodiversity conservation. Location Upper Guinean forests, West Africa (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo). Methods We used herbarium collections from the whole Upper Guinean region (sensu White 1981) to analyse the distribution patterns of 216 vascular plant species (approximately one-third of the endemic flora ranging from herbs to trees) that are restricted to these rain forests. We related species distribution ranges and species commonness to the main environmental variables and species life-history traits. Results We found that most endemic species of West African forests have large distribution ranges and ruderal strategies. Among all plant life-forms, species with small ranges were restricted to very moist places whereas more widespread species were less dependent on the availability of water. These more common species seem able to tolerate drier conditions, indicated by the minimum rainfall conditions where they are found and the positive correlation with local habitat openness. Light-demanding endemics were more common and widespread than shade-tolerant species, and there was a trend towards wind-dispersed species having a higher proportion of records in open places. This suggests that how widespread and common an endemic species is depends on being able to tolerate open and drier conditions. Main conclusions A ruderal strategy seems to be key for understanding the success of endemics in the Upper Guinean forests, and indicates the important role of disturbances in shaping the composition of these tropical forests. Our results have large implications for predicting the potential effect of increasing drought on rare endemic plant species of West African forests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1100-1111
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume34
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Fingerprint

ruderal
flora
rain forests
indigenous species
Guinea-Bissau
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Guinea
Senegal
Ghana
endemic species
herbaria
Western Africa
vascular plants
tropical forests
herbs
shade
biogeography
drought
life history

Keywords

  • tropical rain-forest
  • species distributions
  • patterns
  • fragmentation
  • biodiversity
  • deforestation
  • diversity
  • abundance
  • world
  • ghana

Cite this

@article{770e393ad492468fb3a888e407c11755,
title = "Does a ruderal strategy dominate the endemic flora of the West African forests?",
abstract = "Aim To understand the distribution pattern of endemic plant species in West African rain forests, one of the global priority areas for biodiversity conservation. Location Upper Guinean forests, West Africa (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, C{\^o}te d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo). Methods We used herbarium collections from the whole Upper Guinean region (sensu White 1981) to analyse the distribution patterns of 216 vascular plant species (approximately one-third of the endemic flora ranging from herbs to trees) that are restricted to these rain forests. We related species distribution ranges and species commonness to the main environmental variables and species life-history traits. Results We found that most endemic species of West African forests have large distribution ranges and ruderal strategies. Among all plant life-forms, species with small ranges were restricted to very moist places whereas more widespread species were less dependent on the availability of water. These more common species seem able to tolerate drier conditions, indicated by the minimum rainfall conditions where they are found and the positive correlation with local habitat openness. Light-demanding endemics were more common and widespread than shade-tolerant species, and there was a trend towards wind-dispersed species having a higher proportion of records in open places. This suggests that how widespread and common an endemic species is depends on being able to tolerate open and drier conditions. Main conclusions A ruderal strategy seems to be key for understanding the success of endemics in the Upper Guinean forests, and indicates the important role of disturbances in shaping the composition of these tropical forests. Our results have large implications for predicting the potential effect of increasing drought on rare endemic plant species of West African forests.",
keywords = "tropical rain-forest, species distributions, patterns, fragmentation, biodiversity, deforestation, diversity, abundance, world, ghana",
author = "M. Holmgren and L. Poorter",
year = "2007",
doi = "10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01683.x",
language = "English",
volume = "34",
pages = "1100--1111",
journal = "Journal of Biogeography",
issn = "0305-0270",
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}

Does a ruderal strategy dominate the endemic flora of the West African forests? / Holmgren, M.; Poorter, L.

In: Journal of Biogeography, Vol. 34, No. 6, 2007, p. 1100-1111.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Does a ruderal strategy dominate the endemic flora of the West African forests?

AU - Holmgren, M.

AU - Poorter, L.

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - Aim To understand the distribution pattern of endemic plant species in West African rain forests, one of the global priority areas for biodiversity conservation. Location Upper Guinean forests, West Africa (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo). Methods We used herbarium collections from the whole Upper Guinean region (sensu White 1981) to analyse the distribution patterns of 216 vascular plant species (approximately one-third of the endemic flora ranging from herbs to trees) that are restricted to these rain forests. We related species distribution ranges and species commonness to the main environmental variables and species life-history traits. Results We found that most endemic species of West African forests have large distribution ranges and ruderal strategies. Among all plant life-forms, species with small ranges were restricted to very moist places whereas more widespread species were less dependent on the availability of water. These more common species seem able to tolerate drier conditions, indicated by the minimum rainfall conditions where they are found and the positive correlation with local habitat openness. Light-demanding endemics were more common and widespread than shade-tolerant species, and there was a trend towards wind-dispersed species having a higher proportion of records in open places. This suggests that how widespread and common an endemic species is depends on being able to tolerate open and drier conditions. Main conclusions A ruderal strategy seems to be key for understanding the success of endemics in the Upper Guinean forests, and indicates the important role of disturbances in shaping the composition of these tropical forests. Our results have large implications for predicting the potential effect of increasing drought on rare endemic plant species of West African forests.

AB - Aim To understand the distribution pattern of endemic plant species in West African rain forests, one of the global priority areas for biodiversity conservation. Location Upper Guinean forests, West Africa (Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Togo). Methods We used herbarium collections from the whole Upper Guinean region (sensu White 1981) to analyse the distribution patterns of 216 vascular plant species (approximately one-third of the endemic flora ranging from herbs to trees) that are restricted to these rain forests. We related species distribution ranges and species commonness to the main environmental variables and species life-history traits. Results We found that most endemic species of West African forests have large distribution ranges and ruderal strategies. Among all plant life-forms, species with small ranges were restricted to very moist places whereas more widespread species were less dependent on the availability of water. These more common species seem able to tolerate drier conditions, indicated by the minimum rainfall conditions where they are found and the positive correlation with local habitat openness. Light-demanding endemics were more common and widespread than shade-tolerant species, and there was a trend towards wind-dispersed species having a higher proportion of records in open places. This suggests that how widespread and common an endemic species is depends on being able to tolerate open and drier conditions. Main conclusions A ruderal strategy seems to be key for understanding the success of endemics in the Upper Guinean forests, and indicates the important role of disturbances in shaping the composition of these tropical forests. Our results have large implications for predicting the potential effect of increasing drought on rare endemic plant species of West African forests.

KW - tropical rain-forest

KW - species distributions

KW - patterns

KW - fragmentation

KW - biodiversity

KW - deforestation

KW - diversity

KW - abundance

KW - world

KW - ghana

U2 - 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01683.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01683.x

M3 - Article

VL - 34

SP - 1100

EP - 1111

JO - Journal of Biogeography

JF - Journal of Biogeography

SN - 0305-0270

IS - 6

ER -