Structure and composition of terra firme and seasonally flooded Várzea forests in the western Brazilian Amazon

Yennie K. Bredin, Joseph E. Hawes, Carlos A. Peres, Torbjørn Haugaasen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Research Highlights: Rare, or sparsely distributed, species drive the floristic diversity of upland, terra firme and seasonally flooded forests in the central Juruá—a remote and hitherto floristically poorly known area in the Brazilian Amazon. Background and Objectives: Floristic inventories are critical for modelling and understanding the role of Amazonian forests in climate regulation, for sustainable management of forest resources and efficient conservation planning. Yet, detailed information about the often complex spatial distributions of many Amazonian woody plants is limited. Here, we provide information about forest structure and species composition from a remote terra firme forest and an adjacent floodplain forest in the western Brazilian Amazon. More specifically, we ask (1) how floristically different are the terra firme and floodplain forests? and (2) how variable is species composition within the same forest type? Materials and Methods: Between September 2016 and October 2017, we inventoried 97 plots (each 0.1 ha; 100 × 10 m) placed at least 800 m apart, with 46 plots in terra firme forest and 51 in seasonally flooded forest. We included all trees, hemi-epiphytes and palms with diameter at breast height (dbh) > 10 cm and woody lianas > 5 cm dbh. We examine forest structure, family- and species-level floristic composition and species diversity within and between forest types using family and species importance values, rarefaction curves and dissimilarity matrices. Results: Terra firme forest and seasonally flooded forest woody plant communities differ both in structure and species composition, which was highly variable within forest types. Many species were shared between terra firme and seasonally flooded forests, but most species were forest type-specific. Whereas species richness was greatest in the terra firme forest, floodplain species richness was among the highest regionally. Conclusions: Floodplain forests are a crucial complement to terra firme forests in terms of Amazonian woody plant diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1361
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020


  • Amazon
  • Floodplain forest
  • Forest structure
  • Paleo-várzea
  • Plant diversity
  • Species composition
  • Terra firme
  • Várzea
  • Woody plants

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