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Vascular epiphytes respond to successional stages and microhabitat variations in a subtropical forest in southern Brazil

Padilha, Peterson Teodoro, Elias, Guilherme Alves, dos Santos, Robson, Martins, Rafael, Citadini-Zanette, Vanilde
Revista brasileira de botânica 2017 v.40 no.4 pp. 897-905
biosphere, community development, correspondence analysis, ecosystems, environmental factors, epiphytes, microclimate, microhabitats, rivers, trees, tropical rain forests, vascular plants, Brazil
Epiphytism is responsible for a significant part of the diversity that makes tropical rainforests one of the most complex ecosystems in the biosphere. Approximately 9% of all vascular plants are epiphytes, found almost exclusively in tropical and subtropical forests. The objective of this study was to analyze the distribution of epiphytic species in different environments in a toposequence of a subtropical forest in southern Brazil. The species were sampled in six areas established within the forest: two areas with anthropic interference and four conserved areas, two near the river and two areas distant from the river. In each area, five point-centered quarters were demarcated, considering the nearest trees, with DBH ≥10 cm, as a sample unit. As a result, the correspondence analysis identified three distinct groups, influenced by different microclimates variable. Different environments favored the development of communities with characteristic species, where some have preference for sites near watercourses and others for more open or closed forests. Moisture and light incidence were some of the environmental factors that are linked to the preference of the species, contributing to the diversity and development of groups of species in the forest.