Biodiv Sci

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Species diversity and distribution of epiphytes in the montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forest in Ailao Mountain,Yunnan

Haiqing Xu1,2, Wenyao Liu1,3*   

  1. 1 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
    2 Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
    3 Curtin University of Technology, Perth WA 6845, Australia
  • Received:2004-08-25 Revised:2005-01-30 Online:2005-03-20 Published:2005-03-20
  • Contact: Wenyao Liu


Epiphytes play important roles in biodiversity sustainability, water and nutrient cycling in forests. Based on data from 80 host trees, we analyzed the composition and distribution of epiphyte species in the montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forest at Xujiaba region, in Ailao Mountain of Yunnan. The results showed that the epiphytes were abundant in this montane forest. In total, 69 epiphyte species belonging to 49 genera and 33 families were identified. Of these, 46.4% and 53.6% were vascular and bryophyte epiphytic species, respectively. The Shannon-Wiener index and Simpson index were 2.93 and 0.91 for vascular epiphytic species, and 3.31 and 0.95 for bryophyte epiphyte species, respectively. Among the epiphytic fern species, Lepisorus scolopendrium, Vittaria flexuosoides, and Polypodiodes amoena var. pilosa were abundant. Aeschynanthus buxifolius, Briggsia longifolia and Agapetes mannii were the dominant epiphytic seed plant species. Most trees investigated were covered with rich bryophyte epiphyte species. The common species were Bazzania praerupta, B. ovistipula, Chandonanthus hirtellus, Homaliodendron flabellatum, Symphyodon perrottetii, Dicranodontium denudatum, Meteoriella soluta and Kindbergia praelonga. The bryophyte epiphyte species mainly distributed on the trunks, while vascular epiphyte species were in the tree crowns. A significant positive correlation was found between trunk size and epiphyte association. Major epiphytes, especially larger epiphytic species, occurred on medium and large stems. There was no significant positive relationship between epiphyte species and hosts, although a small number of epiphyte species only occurred on some specific trees.