Cross-scale determinants of palm species distribution

Rodolfo Salm, Nilson Vicente de Salles, Wladimir J. Alonso, Cynthia Schuck-Paim
2007 Acta Amazonica  
We investigate palm species distribution, richness and abundance along the Mokoti, a seasonally-dry river of southeastern Amazon and compare it to the patterns observed at a large scale, comprising the entire Brazilian territory. A total of 694 palms belonging to 10 species were sampled at the Mokoti River basin. Although the species showed diverse distribution patterns, we found that local palm abundance, richness and tree basal area were significantly higher from the hills to the bottomlands
more » ... to the bottomlands of the study region, revealing a positive association of these measures with moisture. The analyses at the larger spatial scale also showed a strong influence of vapor pressure (a measure of moisture content of the air, in turn modulated by temperature) and seasonality in temperature: the richest regions were those where temperature and humidity were simultaneously high, and which also presented a lower degree of seasonality in temperature. These results indicate that the distribution of palms seems to be strongly associated with climatic variables, supporting the idea that, by 'putting all the eggs in one basket' (a consequence of survival depending on the preservation of a single irreplaceable bud), palms have become vulnerable to extreme environmental conditions. Hence, their distribution is concentrated in those tropical and sub-tropical regions with constant conditions of (mild to high) temperature and moisture all year round.
doi:10.1590/s0044-59672007000100002 fatcat:av5ytme4fjbdnfb5e5ftfwhyzm