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An estimate of the number of tropical tree species.

Authors
  • Slik, J W Ferry
  • Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor
  • Aiba, Shin-Ichiro
  • Alvarez-Loayza, Patricia
  • Alves, Luciana F
  • Ashton, Peter
  • Balvanera, Patricia
  • Bastian, Meredith L
  • Bellingham, Peter J
  • van den Berg, Eduardo
  • Bernacci, Luis
  • da Conceição Bispo, Polyanna
  • Blanc, Lilian
  • Böhning-Gaese, Katrin
  • Boeckx, Pascal
  • Bongers, Frans
  • Boyle, Brad
  • Bradford, Matt
  • Brearley, Francis Q
  • Breuer-Ndoundou Hockemba, Mireille
  • And 155 more
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Jun 15, 2015
Volume
112
Issue
24
Pages
7472–7477
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1423147112
PMID: 26034279
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼ 40,000 and ∼ 53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼ 19,000-25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼ 4,500-6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.

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