Tree Species Composition along an Altitudinal Gradient of a Tropical Dry Forest

Ruffy Rodrigo, Eduardo Cueva, Randy Alfabete Villarin


Tropical dry forests are unique and biodiversity-rich ecosystems, however, they are extremely disturbed. The study investigated the species composition across the gradient of a tropical dry forest in Laipuna, South Ecuador. A total of 51 plots, with the plot size of 531 m2, were laid out using systematic sampling. Results showed an increasing trend of the stems per hectare in accordance with an increase in altitude. A difference was found between low and high altitudes, and in middle and high altitudes based on the number of stems per hectare. Ceiba trichistandra under the family Bombacaceae was the most important species based on the importance value index. Other important species were Eriotheca ruizii, Erythrina velutina, and Bursera graveolens among the 22 species. The occurrence of species along gradients is useful for forest management and conservation programs in the area.


Importance Value Index, forest inventory, South Ecuador


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