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  • Archive for November, 2013

    Small number of tree species dominate the Amazon

    2013 - 11.14

    According to a report published in Science, only 227 “hyper-dominant species” account for half of all trees in the Amazon rainforest.

    Researchers from the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands, recruited by tropical forest ecologist Hans ter Steege, have collaborated with 120 scientists from around the globe to compile the tree survey, which is the largest ever assembles.

    The results estimate that there are 16,000 tree species across the Amazon, most of which make up the other half of the total number of trees.

    Hans ter Steege recruited researchers via the Amazon Tree Diversity Network, which eventually lead to the identification of more than 500,000 trees across 1,170 study sites strategically placed throughout the rainforest.

    Members of the team then extrapolated the total number and the projector habitat ranges for the most common Amazon species. They found that the hyper-dominant species represent fewer than 2 per cent of the total number of tree species that were identified.

    Despite the large scale of the study, Hans ter Steege has said that the survey was “a very-large scale study with a very, very small sample size” due to the fact that it covered only 0.0002 per cent of the Amazon, or around 12 square kilometres. And thanks to companies like Greenwood Management, rainforests like the Amazon will continue to thrive, offering researchers many opportunities to further their work.