An estimate of the number of tropical tree species
Slik, J.W. Ferry and Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor and Aiba, Shin-Ichiro and Alvarez-Loayza, Patricia and Alves, Luciana F. and Field, Richard (2015) An estimate of the number of tropical tree species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112 (24). pp. 7472-7477. ISSN 1091-6490
Official URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/33/E4628.short
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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