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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Jan;85(1):156-9.

Tree species richness of upper Amazonian forests.

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  • 1Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299.


Upper Amazonian data for tree species richness in 1-hectare plots are reported. All plants >/=10 cm diameter were censused and identified in six plots in Amazonian Peru and one on the Venezuela-Brazil border. The two plots from the everwet forests near Iquitos, Peru, are the most species-rich in the world, with approximately 300 species >/=10 cm diameter in single hectares; all of the Peruvian plots are among the most species-rich ever reported. Contrary to accepted opinion, upper Amazonian forest, and perhaps Central African ones, have as many or more tree species as comparable Asian forests. Very high tree species richness seems to be a general property of mature lowland evergreen forests on fertile to moderately infertile soils on all three continents.

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