Diversity patterns of climbing plants and vascular epiphytes in the Valdivian rain forest of South America: a synthesis between 2000 and 2010
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY
Knowledge about the diversity patterns of vascular epiphytes and vines in the Valdivian rainforest of South America between 2000 and 2010 was systematized. The method was based on the review of publications available in four electronic databases using keywords. The results showed 12 studies conducted in Chile and two in Argentina mostly in primary forests within protected areas. Research\nwas carried out essentially at the habitat level although there were one study at a landscape level and two reviews at a regional scale. The samples used came from ground-based observations and only two studies accessed the canopy of emergent trees. The most relevant\nfindings showed that: (1) diversity was greater in primary than secondary forests; (2) the abundance of epiphytic ferns (Hymenophyllaceae)\ncorrelated positively with the habitat moisture gradient; (3) climbing plants showed differential tolerance to shade; (4) the diversity of both groups of plants was positively correlated with the diameter of phorophytes and (5) the majority of vines and epiphytes showed selectivity for the phorophyte species. In addition richness of vascular epiphytes and vines at a habitat scale ranged from 8 to 16 and 6 to 14 species respectively. Knowledge about the level of species interchange between habitats is scarce in fragmented environments and at a landscape scale. This knowledge must be prioritized in areas with high human pressure to improve the conservation opportunity of this group of plants.