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Gayana. Botánica

Print version ISSN 0016-5301On-line version ISSN 0717-6643


LETELIER, Luis et al. Patterns of composition, richness and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities of Quillaja saponaria Molina (Quillajaceae) in the Chilean sclerophyllous forest. Gayana Bot. [online]. 2017, vol.74, n.1, pp.57-72. ISSN 0016-5301.

Sclerophyllous forest is among the most representative types of woody plant communities in central Chile where Quillaja saponaria is considered to be one of the most important species. In this study, we analysed the main factors that explain the geographical patterns of variation in composition, richness and phylogenetic diversity of woody plant communities in the Chilean sclerophyllous forest where Quillaja saponaria is present. Vegetation surveys were performed for trees and shrubs in thirty-nine sites from 30° to 38° of latitude South in the Mediterranean biome of Chile. Composition, richness, alfa diversity and phylogenetic diversity metrics of the communities were calculated and associated with spatial (latitude, longitude and altitude), climate (annual mean temperature, annual precipitation, aridity), and disturbance variables (type of adjacent vegetation matrix) using multiple regression models. Sixty taxa were identified, distributed in 29 families, including 23 trees and 37 shrubs. A significant effect of the type of adjacent vegetation matrix (i.e. agricultural land, commercial forestry plantation or natural forest) on diversity and composition of the sampled communities was found. Significant effects of latitude on diversity, and altitude, latitude and annual mean temperature on composition were also found. Metrics of phylogenetic diversity and structure were only associated with altitude and latitude. In conclusion, diversity, composition and phylogenetic structure patterns of sclerophyllous forest communities are associated with spatial and climate variables, and anthropogenic disturbance has also caused important changes in these communities.

Keywords : Diversity; forest fragmentation; Mediterranean flora; phylogenetic diversity; vegetation matrix.

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