An estimate of the number of tropical tree species.
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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.
SubjectFisher’s log series
spatial richness patterns
tropical tree species richness
Conservation of Natural Resources
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1073/pnas.1423147112
Publication InfoAdekunle, V; Adou Yao, CY; Aiba, S-I; Alvarez-Loayza, P; Alves, LF; Amaral, ILD; ... Zang, R (2015). An estimate of the number of tropical tree species. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112(24). pp. 7472-7477. 10.1073/pnas.1423147112. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/15872.
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Associate Professor of Tropical Ecology
John Poulsen is an ecologist with broad interests in the maintenance and regeneration of tropical forests and conservation of biodiversity. His research has focused on the effects of anthropogenic disturbance, such as logging and hunting, on forest structure and diversity, abundance of tropical animals, and ecological processes. He has conducted most of his research in Central Africa, where he has also worked as a conservation manager, directing projects to sustainably manage natural resources i
Norb F. Schaefer Professor of International Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences
Thomas' research interests focus on population health and development. His work delves inside the black box of the family to provide empirical evidence on how resources are allocated within families in very low resource environments and highlights the role of female empowerment in improving the well-being of the next generation. Understanding the mechanisms that explain why healthier people are richer is a theme that runs through much of his research. He implemented a large-scale randomized in
Instructor in the Organization for Tropical Studies Program
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