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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jun 16;112(24):7472-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423147112. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

An estimate of the number of tropical tree species.

Slik JW1, Arroyo-Rodríguez V2, Aiba S3, Alvarez-Loayza P4, Alves LF5, Ashton P6, Balvanera P2, Bastian ML7, Bellingham PJ8, van den Berg E9, Bernacci L5, da Conceição Bispo P10, Blanc L11, Böhning-Gaese K12, Boeckx P13, Bongers F14, Boyle B15, Bradford M16, Brearley FQ17, Breuer-Ndoundou Hockemba M18, Bunyavejchewin S19, Calderado Leal Matos D20, Castillo-Santiago M21, Catharino EL22, Chai SL23, Chen Y24, Colwell RK25, Chazdon RL, Clark C4, Clark DB27, Clark DA27, Culmsee H28, Damas K29, Dattaraja HS30, Dauby G31, Davidar P32, DeWalt SJ33, Doucet JL34, Duque A35, Durigan G36, Eichhorn KA37, Eisenlohr PV38, Eler E39, Ewango C18, Farwig N40, Feeley KJ41, Ferreira L20, Field R42, de Oliveira Filho AT43, Fletcher C44, Forshed O45, Franco G36, Fredriksson G46, Gillespie T47, Gillet JF34, Amarnath G48, Griffith DM49, Grogan J50, Gunatilleke N51, Harris D52, Harrison R53, Hector A54, Homeier J28, Imai N55, Itoh A56, Jansen PA57, Joly CA58, de Jong BH21, Kartawinata K59, Kearsley E13, Kelly DL60, Kenfack D61, Kessler M62, Kitayama K63, Kooyman R64, Larney E65, Laumonier Y66, Laurance S67, Laurance WF67, Lawes MJ68, Amaral IL39, Letcher SG69, Lindsell J70, Lu X71, Mansor A72, Marjokorpi A73, Martin EH74, Meilby H75, Melo FP76, Metcalfe DJ77, Medjibe VP4, Metzger JP78, Millet J79, Mohandass D80, Montero JC81, de Morisson Valeriano M10, Mugerwa B82, Nagamasu H63, Nilus R83, Ochoa-Gaona S21, Onrizal84, Page N30, Parolin P85, Parren M14, Parthasarathy N32, Paudel E86, Permana A62, Piedade MT39, Pitman NC4, Poorter L14, Poulsen AD87, Poulsen J4, Powers J88, Prasad RC89, Puyravaud JP90, Razafimahaimodison JC65, Reitsma J91, Dos Santos JR10, Roberto Spironello W39, Romero-Saltos H92, Rovero F93, Rozak AH94, Ruokolainen K95, Rutishauser E96, Saiter F97, Saner P62, Santos BA98, Santos F20, Sarker SK99, Satdichanh M86, Schmitt CB100, Schöngart J101, Schulze M102, Suganuma MS78, Sheil D103, da Silva Pinheiro E104, Sist P105, Stevart T106, Sukumar R30, Sun IF107, Sunderland T, Suresh HS30, Suzuki E3, Tabarelli M76, Tang J80, Targhetta N101, Theilade I75, Thomas DW108, Tchouto P109, Hurtado J110, Valencia R111, van Valkenburg JL112, Van Do T113, Vasquez R106, Verbeeck H13, Adekunle V114, Vieira SA58, Webb CO115, Whitfeld T116, Wich SA117, Williams J118, Wittmann F119, Wöll H120, Yang X121, Adou Yao CY122, Yap SL123, Yoneda T3, Zahawi RA110, Zakaria R72, Zang R71, de Assis RL124, Garcia Luize B39, Venticinque EM125.

Author information

1
Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darusallam, Gadong, Brunei; ferryslik@hotmail.com.
2
Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Mexico;
3
Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan;
4
Center for Tropical Conservation, Duke University, Durham, NC;
5
Instituto Agronômico de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil;
6
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA;
7
Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, DC;
8
Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand;
9
Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, Brazil;
10
National Institute for Space Research (INPE), São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil;
11
Centre de Cooperation Internationale en Recherche Agronimique pour le Developpement (CIRAD), Belem, Brazil;
12
Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Senckenberg, Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt (Main), Germany;
13
Ghent University, Gent, Belgium;
14
Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands;
15
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ;
16
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Land and Water, Tropical Forest Research Centre, Atherton, Australia;
17
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom;
18
Wildlife Conservation Society, Congo Program, Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Republic of Congo;
19
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Bangkok, Thailand;
20
Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belem, Brazil;
21
El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Chiapas, Mexico;
22
Instituto de Botânica de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil;
23
Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures, Vegreville, AB, Canada;
24
College of Life Sciences, Hainan Normal University, Haikou, China;
25
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT; University of Colorado, Boulder, CO;
26
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT;
27
University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO;
28
University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany;
29
PNG Forest Research Institute, Lae, Papua New Guinea;
30
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India;
31
Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium;
32
Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India;
33
Clemson University, Clemson, SC;
34
Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Université de Liège, Gembloux, Belgium;
35
Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin, Colombia;
36
Instituto Florestal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil;
37
Eichhorn Ecology, Zeist, The Netherlands;
38
Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso, Caceres, Brazil;
39
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil;
40
Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany;
41
International Center for Tropical Botany, Florida International University, Miami, FL;
42
University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom;
43
Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil;
44
Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia;
45
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden;
46
PanEco/Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP), Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia;
47
University of California, Los Angeles, CA;
48
International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka;
49
Universidad Laica Eloy Alfaro de Manabi, Manta, Ecuador;
50
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA;
51
University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka;
52
Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom;
53
Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China; China & World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), East and Central Asia Regional Office, Kunming, China;
54
University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom;
55
Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Kanrin, Inuyama, Aichi, Japan;
56
Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan;
57
Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands; Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, Republic of Panama;
58
Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil;
59
Herbarium Bogoriense, Research Center for Biology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Cibinong, Indonesia;
60
Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland;
61
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Washington, DC;
62
University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland;
63
Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan;
64
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia;
65
Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar;
66
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia;
67
James Cook University, Cairns, Australia;
68
Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia;
69
Purchase College, State University of New York, Purchase, NY;
70
RSPB, Sandy, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom;
71
Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing, China;
72
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia;
73
Stora Enso Oyj, Helsinki, Finland;
74
Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre, Mang'ula, Tanzania; Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania;
75
University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark;
76
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil;
77
CSIRO Land and Water, EcoSciences Precinct, Dutton Park, Australia;
78
Universidade de São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil;
79
National University of Laos, Vientiane, Laos;
80
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, China;
81
Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany;
82
Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Kampala, Uganda;
83
Sabah Forestry Department, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia;
84
University of Sumatera Utara, Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia;
85
University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany;
86
Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China;
87
University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway;
88
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN;
89
International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India;
90
Sigur Nature Trust, Masinagudi, India;
91
Bureau Waardenburg bv, Culemborg, The Netherlands;
92
Department of Biology, Yachay Tech University, Ciudad del Conocimiento, Urcuquí, Ecuador;
93
MUSE Museo delle Scienze, Trento, Italy;
94
Cibodas Botanic Gardens, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Cianjur, Indonesia;
95
University of Turku, Turku, Finland;
96
Carboforexpert, Geneva, Switzerland;
97
Instituto Federal do Espírito Santo, Santa Teresa, Brazil;
98
Universidade Federal da Paraíba, João Pessoa, Brazil;
99
Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh;
100
Chair for Landscape Management, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany;
101
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Max Planck Project, Manaus, Brazil;
102
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR;
103
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia; Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway;
104
Universidade Federal do Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil;
105
CIRAD, Monpellier, France;
106
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO;
107
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan;
108
Department of Biology, Washington State University, Vancouver, ON, Canada;
109
Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Forets, Mbalmayo, Cameroon;
110
Organization for Tropical Field Studies, La Selva, Costa Rica;
111
Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador;
112
Nederlands Voedsel-en Warenautoriteit, Wageningen, The Netherlands;
113
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan;
114
Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria;
115
Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University, Jamaica Plain, MA;
116
Brown University, Providence, RI;
117
Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom; University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
118
Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico;
119
Biogeochemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany;
120
Bad Aussee, Austria;
121
Hainan University, Haikou, Hainan, China;
122
Félix Houphouët-Boigny University, Abidjan, Ivory Coast;
123
Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines; and.
124
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil; Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway;
125
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil.

Abstract

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼ 40,000 and ∼ 53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼ 19,000-25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼ 4,500-6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.

KEYWORDS:

Fisher’s log series; diversity estimation; pantropical; spatial richness patterns; tropical tree species richness

PMID:
26034279
PMCID:
PMC4475970
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1423147112
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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