A2.5 Dynamics of epiphyte diversity in disturbed and undisturbed tropical montane forest
PI(s) for this project:
Dynamics of epiphyte diversity in disturbed and undisturbed tropical montane forest
Tropical montane rainforests are characterized by their high diversity of epiphytes. In spite of the increased endangerment of epiphytes due to deforestation, very little is known about the effects of human-induced disturbance on epiphytes. For this purpose, we will monitor the growth and succession of epiphyte species under different, manipulated habitat conditions such as partially and fully exposed trees and bare substrates. In addition, we will study the epiphytic composition of secondary forest as developed after clear-cutting. Species assemblages in páramo are analysed by the Ecuadorian cooperating scientist. The principal innovative aspect of the present study is the manipulative approach to the study of disturbance effects on epiphyte diversity. By complementing descriptive with experimental data, we expect to obtain better-founded information on the resilience of epiphytes under conditions of anthropogenic disturbance. Integration of the results with those of other studies dealing with disturbance effects on biodiversity in the study area will lead to a better understanding of the rich biodiversity and its maintenance in tropical montane rainforest ecosystems.