Impact of management intensity on non-vascular epiphyte diversity in cacao plantations in western Ecuador
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 14, Number 5, May 2005 , pp. 1101-1120(20)
Abstract:A first study on the biodiversity of non-vascular epiphytes in cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) plantations in western Ecuador yielded 112 species (51 bryophytes, 61 lichens). Epiphyte assemblages of cacao plantations resembled those of tropical rain forests but species richness was usually lower and individual species were found at lower heights on the trunks. The vast majority of the species are widespread neotropical or pantropical species; one species, Spruceanthus theobromae (Spruce) Gradst., is endemic to cacao plantations of western Ecuador. Differences in management intensity, by manual removal of epiphytes from tree trunks (limpia), had a significant impact on epiphyte species diversity. Total species richness was significantly reduced in plantations with high management intensity, due mainly to the decreased diversity of lichens and liverworts; moss diversity was not affected by management regime. Total percentage cover of bryophytes was highest in plantations with low management intensity, while lichen cover was greatest in plantations with high management intensity. Crustose lichens and smooth mats growing closely appressed to the substrate were little affected by the limpia and their growth may have been promoted when larger-sized species were removed, by reducing competition. Cacao plantations with low and moderate management intensity serve as an important substitute habitat for ecological specialists (sun epiphytes, shade epiphytes) of the rain forest and are of considerable significance for their conservation.
Document Type: Research article
Affiliations: 1: International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), c/o CIAT, Cali, A.A. 6713, Colombia, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2: Albrecht von Haller Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Göttingen, D-37073, Göttingen, Germany,
Publication date: 2005-05-01