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Influence of spatial and environmental variables on rattan palm (Arecaceae) assemblage composition in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Articles

Journal/Conference:

PLANT ECOLOGY

Language:

English

Author:

Thonhofer Joachim; Getto Daniela; van Straaten Oliver; Cicuzza Daniele; Kessler Michael

Year:

2015

Volume:

216

Issue:

1

Pages:

55-66

Keywords:

Diversity; Elevation; Lianas; Palms; Soil factors; Topography

Rattan palms are dominant elements of Southeast Asian rainforests and of high economic importance, yet little is known about the ecological factors determining the spatial distribution of species and assemblages. We studied rattan palm assemblages at two sites at different elevations in Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia (Pono: 958-1,266 m; Bariri: 1,390-1,507 m). At each site, we established a transect of 1.29 km consisting of 65 study plots of 10 x 10 m(2) each, regularly spaced 20 m from each other. In total, we recorded 5,081 rattan individuals belonging to 22 species, with 1,367 individuals of 16 species at Pono and 3,714 individuals of 8 species at Bariri. Variance partitioning explained 29-49 % of community variation at Pono and 40-72 % at Bariri, with most variation jointly explained by spatial and environmental variables. Within the environmental influence, soil factors dominated over local topographical ones. RDA ordination allowed the discrimination of four species groups at Pono and three groups at Bariri. These groups were related to soil and less clearly to topographic variables. Our study is the first documentation of the importance of soil parameters in determining the spatial distribution of rattan palms. Interestingly, juvenile palms (< 1 m tall) showed closer relationships to environmental factors than adult plants (> 1 m tall), calling for further studies on the demography of rattan palms.