Forest structure, plant diversity and local endemism in a highly varied New Guinea landscape

Katovai, Eric, Katovai, Dawnie D., Edwards, Will, and Laurance, William F. (2015) Forest structure, plant diversity and local endemism in a highly varied New Guinea landscape. Tropical Conservation Science, 8 (2). pp. 284-300.

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Abstract

The Island of New Guinea is renowned for its high biodiversity, which arises in part from its complex geology and topographical variability. The island is, however, relatively understudied. We surveyed forest plant communities in the poorly studied Naoro-Brown catchment of the West Koiari region of Papua New Guinea. We identified four forest types—riverine successional forest, lower montane forest, hill forest, and riverine mixed forest—along a 13-km transect, and examined forest structure (tree height, stand density, and biomass) and tree species diversity (species richness, Shannon-Wiener diversity index, and composition) in these forest types. We also assessed the effect of local topography on floristic patterns. Forest structure and species diversity varied greatly among the forest types, with topography strongly affecting species assemblages. These results suggest that highly varied landscapes may contain high beta diversity via intense segregation and establishment of varied vegetation communities. Beta diversity in New Guinea may be higher than expected as such highly varied landscapes are common, yet poorly studied. To effectively conserve biodiversity in New Guinea's forests, protection must include forested landscapes that best represent the topographical variability throughout the island to account for locally endemic species restricted to specific ecological niches.

Item ID: 43019
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1940-0829
Keywords: beta diversity, biodiversity conservation, forest structure, local endemism, species diversity, topographic variation
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© Eric Katovai, Dawnie D. Katovai, Will Edwards, William F. Laurance. This is an open access paper. We use the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/. The license permits any user to download, print out, extract, archive, and distribute the article, so long as appropriate credit is given to the authors and source of the work. The license ensures that the published article will be as widely available as possible and that your article can be included in any scientific archive. Open Access authors retain the copyrights of their papers. Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publisher.

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Katovai, Eric (2016) Regeneration and recovery dynamics of logged forests in the Solomon Islands. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Entura Consultancy, Australia (ECA), Pacific Adventist University, Papua New Guinea (PAU)
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 01:38
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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