A hot-point within a hot-spot: a high diversity site in Brazil's Atlantic Forest

Martini, Adriana Maria Zanforlin; Fiaschi, Pedro; Amorim, André M.; Da Paixão, José Lima
October 2007
Biodiversity & Conservation;Oct2007, Vol. 16 Issue 11, p3111
Academic Journal
The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is considered one of the world's most important sites for biodiversity conservation, and within this biome there are regions with differing levels of species richness, species composition, and endemism. The present study was undertaken in southern Bahia, Brazil, and employed a standardized sampling method to compare the density of arboreal species in this region with other areas throughout the world known for their high tree species density. A total of 144 tree species with DBH > 4.8 cm were sampled within a 0.1 ha plot of old-growth forest (OGF), and these data were then compared with 22 other world sites that had been sampled using the same methodology and likewise demonstrated high densities of arboreal species. Only one site of ombrophilous forest in Colombia demonstrated a higher tree species density (148 spp. in 0.1 ha) than was encountered in southern Bahia. Other areas of Brazil, including other Atlantic Forest sites, showed significantly inferior tree species densities. These results indicate that this region of southern Bahia has one of the greatest numbers of tree species in Brazil and in the world. These results, associated with the high levels of endemism there, indicate the high biological importance of this region. It is therefore fundamental that efforts aimed at halting the degradation of these forests be linked to programs that will increase our knowledge of the species found there as well as the ecological and evolutionary processes that originated these unique forests.


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