Environmental correlates for tree occurrences, species distribution and richness on a high-elevation tropical island

Birnbaum Philippe, Ibanez Thomas, Pouteau Robin, Vandrot Hervé, Hequet Vanessa, Blanchard Elodie, Jaffré Tanguy. 2015. Environmental correlates for tree occurrences, species distribution and richness on a high-elevation tropical island. AoB Plants, 7, n.spéc. Island Plant Biology-Celebrating Carlquist's Legacy:plv075, 15 p.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
Published version - Anglais
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Quartile : Q2, Sujet : PLANT SCIENCES

Abstract : High-elevation tropical islands are ideally suited for examining the factors that determine species distribution, given the complex topographies and climatic gradients that create a wide variety of habitats within relatively small areas. New Caledonia, a megadiverse Pacific archipelago, has long focussed the attention of botanists working on the spatial and environmental ranges of specific groups, but few studies have embraced the entire tree flora of the archipelago. In this study we analyse the distribution of 702 native species of rainforest trees of New Caledonia, belonging to 195 genera and 80 families, along elevation and rainfall gradients on ultramafic (UM) and non-ultramafic (non-UM) substrates. We compiled four complementary data sources: (i) herbarium specimens, (ii) plots, (iii) photographs and (iv) observations, totalling 38 936 unique occurrences distributed across the main island. Compiled into a regular 1-min grid (1.852 × 1.852 km), this dataset covered ∼22 % of the island. The studied rainforest species exhibited high environmental tolerance; 56 % of them were not affiliated to a substrate type and they exhibited wide elevation (average 891 ± 332 m) and rainfall (average 2.2 ± 0.8 m year−1) ranges. Conversely their spatial distribution was highly aggregated, which suggests dispersal limitation. The observed species richness was driven mainly by the density of occurrences. However, at the highest elevations or rainfalls, and particularly on UM, the observed richness tends to be lower, independently of the sampling effort. The study highlights the imbalance of the dataset in favour of higher values of rainfall and of elevation. Projected onto a map, under-represented areas are a guide as to where future sampling efforts are most required to complete our understanding of rainforest tree species distribution. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Forêt tropicale humide, Flore, Composition botanique, Biodiversité, Distribution géographique, Altitude, Pluviométrie, Facteur édaphique, Sol minéral

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Nouvelle-Calédonie

Mots-clés complémentaires : Terrain minier

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
F70 - Plant taxonomy and geography
F40 - Plant ecology

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2014-2018) - Sociétés, natures et territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Birnbaum Philippe, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR AMAP (NCL)
  • Ibanez Thomas, IAC (NCL)
  • Pouteau Robin, IAC [International Agricultural Centre] (NLD)
  • Vandrot Hervé, IAC (NCL)
  • Hequet Vanessa, IRD (FRA)
  • Blanchard Elodie, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR AMAP (FRA)
  • Jaffré Tanguy, IRD (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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