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Open AccessArticle

Forest Diversity and Structure in the Amazonian Mountain Ranges of Southeastern Ecuador

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Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad Estatal Amazónica sede El Pangui, El Pangui, Zamora-Chinchipe 190401, Ecuador
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Departamento of Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, San Cayetano Alto s/n, Loja 1101608, Ecuador
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Herbario CUZ, Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco (UNSAAC), Prolongación Av. De la Cultura 733, Cusco 08000, Peru
4
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Plaza de Murillo, 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this paper as co-senior authors.
Diversity 2019, 11(10), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11100196
Received: 15 September 2019 / Revised: 10 October 2019 / Accepted: 11 October 2019 / Published: 17 October 2019
We analyze the structure of diameter, richness, and diversity of the forests in the upper limit of the great Amazon basin located in the Ecuadorian territory of the Cordilleras del Cóndor and Cutucú. Our hypothesis was that the forests of the eastern mountain ranges are not homogeneous, but rather present differences in their structure, richness, and floristic diversity. Our main objective was to classify the types of forests based on the characteristics of the diameter structure and the species composition of the Amazonian forests of the eastern mountain ranges in southern Ecuador, and we determined the influence of critical edaphic, environmental, and geomorphological factors, For this we installed eight permanent plots of one hectare in homogeneous and well preserved forest stands, four plots in the province of Zamora Chinchipe and four in the province of Morona Santiago. We identified and measured all trees >10 cm at chest height and for each plot, soil samples, as well as environmental and slope data were taken. We performed an non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis (NMDS) analysis to evaluate changes in climatic and geomorphological gradients, and used the CCA analysis to assess the relationship between the composition of the species at the plot level and the edapho-climatic variables. Finally, we modeled the change in diversity ad species (Fisher’s alpha) in relation to climatic, altitudinal, and geomorphological gradients using a GLM. We determined the existence of two different types of forest, the first called Terra Firme, characterized by the presence of a greater number of species and individuals per plot as compared to the second type of forest called Tepuy or Sandstone forest. Species richness was negatively correlated with the phosphorus content of the soil and the pH, annual average temperature, annual rainfall, and altitude. Terra Firme forests, settled in more stable and nutrient-rich climatic areas, were more diverse and Sandstone forests are poor in nutrients and develop in areas with greater seasonality. View Full-Text
Keywords: alpha diversity; canonical correspondence; NMDS; Sandstone forests; Terra firme forests alpha diversity; canonical correspondence; NMDS; Sandstone forests; Terra firme forests
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MDPI and ACS Style

Quizhpe, W.; Benítez, Á.; Cuenca, K.; Uvidia, H.; Huamantupa, I.; Muñoz, J.; Cabrera, O. Forest Diversity and Structure in the Amazonian Mountain Ranges of Southeastern Ecuador. Diversity 2019, 11, 196.

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