Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (3): 271-279.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015308

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversity and floristic characteristics of vascular epiphytes in the tropical forest of Xishuangbanna

Yi Wu1,2, Liang Song1, Qiang Liu2,3, Mingxu Zhao4, Huazheng Lu1,2, Yunhong Tan5, Wenyao Liu1,*()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
    4 China Forest Exploration & Design Institute in Kunming, Kunming 650216
    5 Herbarium and Germplasm Conservation Center, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303
  • Received:2015-11-11 Accepted:2016-01-22 Online:2016-03-20 Published:2016-04-05
  • Contact: Liu Wenyao

Abstract:

Epiphytes are important structural components of mountain forest ecosystems; however, they have been given insufficient attention because of accessibility issues. In this study, we analyzed the species composition and floristic characteristics of vascular epiphytes in Xishuangbanna using field observations and herbarium specimens, combined with literature records. In total, 486 species (29 families, 134 genera) of vascular epiphytes were identified, contributing to ca. 11% to the Xishuangbanna’s vascular flora. Epiphytic orchids were the most abundant taxa (293 species, 69 genera), dominated by Dendrobium (49 species) and Bulbophyllum (48 species). Epiphytic ferns were the second most abundant taxa (13 families, 38 genera, 97 species), with more than half belonging to Polypodiaceae. Obligate, facultative and hemi-epiphytes accounted for 46%, 48%, and 6% of the species, respectively. Epiphytic orchids were the dominant taxa of obligate epiphytes. Analysis of floristic characteristics at the genus level revealed that epiphytic flora in Xishuangbanna belonged to Tropical Southeast Asia. Without access to soil, epiphytes must explore heterogeneous microhabitat in the forest canopy and are sensitive to environmental changes. They are seriously threatened by anthropogenic disturbances. Therefore, conservation for canopy sub-systems is an urgent and practical need in Xishuangbanna.

Key words: vascular epiphytes, obligate epiphyte, hemi-epiphyte, facultative epiphyte, Orchidaceae, Polypodiaceae, canopy