Structure and ecology of epiphyte communities of a cloud forest in central Veracruz, Mexico

Authors

  • Peter Hietz,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1Instituto de Ecología, Aptdo 63, 91000 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico;
      *Fax +43 1 3195670; E-mail HIETZ@EDV1.BOKU.AC.AT
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      Present address: Botanisches Institut, Universität für Bodenkultur, Gregor Mendel-Str. 33, A-1180 Wien, Austria;

  • Ursula Hietz-Seifert

    1. 1Instituto de Ecología, Aptdo 63, 91000 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico;
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      Present address: Institut fürPflanzenphysiologie, Universität Wien, Althanstr. 14, 1091 Wien, Austria;


*Fax +43 1 3195670; E-mail HIETZ@EDV1.BOKU.AC.AT

Abstract

Abstract. 39 species of vascular epiphytes were found in a 625-m2 plot in a cloud forest in Veracruz, Mexico. Epiphyte biomass was estimated for all species in six zones distinguished on each tree > 10 cm in DBH: stem base, lower stem, upper stem, branches > 20 cm, branches from 5 — 20 cm and branches < 5 cm diameter. Branches were additionally separated according to their position in the upper, middle or lower canopy. Total dry matter of green organs was 318 kg/ha. Dominance/diversity curves fitted best to the lognormal model. Principal Coordinate Analysis showed that canopy height and branch thickness are both important factors and also that the stem base was the most distinct zone. Microhabitat preferences and niche overlap of the frequent species proved some degree of resource partitioning within the canopy. Ecophysiological characters possibly responsible for these preferences and implications for conservation are discussed.

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