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Edge effects on epiphytes in montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forest

Author(s): Wenzhang Ma | Wenyao Liu | Lipan Yang | Guoping Yang

Journal: Biodiversity Science
ISSN 1005-0094

Volume: 16;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 245;
Date: 2008;

Keywords: Ailao Mountain | epiphytic bryophyte | epiphytic fern | life-form | edge effects

Epiphytes are important components in tropical and subtropical forest ecosystems, and are well-known for their sensitivity to environmental changes. To understand epiphyte’s response to forest fragmentation and edge effects, we established four plots at the edges of a montane moist evergreen broad-leaved forest in the Ailao Mountains of Yunnan. Within each plot, we established four transects at 10, 20, 40, and 80 m from forest edge to study the species composition, biomass, and life form of epiphytes on host trunks 0–2 m above the ground. Distance to edge influenced biomass of epiphytes (P < 0.001) and coverage of epiphytic bryophytes (P < 0.001). Epiphytic bryophytes were more sensitive to edge effects than epiphytic ferns. The intensity of edge effects were life-form specific, and turf (P = 0.014) and weft forms (P = 0.030) both showeda pronounced response. Based on the distributional traits of epiphytes in all plots, we concluded that both the biomass of epiphytes and coverage of epiphytic bryophytes are biological indicators of forest edges. Furthermore, Ditrichum pallidum, Wijkia hornschuchii and Herbertus giraldianus are capable of indicating edgehabitats, while the conservation status of Thuidium philibertii, T. cymbifolium, Claopodium pellucinerve, Pseudotrismegistia undulata and Trachypus bicolor deserve further attention because they are excluded from forest edges.
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