Research Article

Hyperdominance in the Amazonian Tree Flora

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Science  18 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6156, 1243092
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243092

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Seeing the Trees in the Forest

Despite botanical exploration over two centuries, knowledge of the species composition and quantitative distribution of the trees of the Amazonian forest has remained decidedly patchy. Ter Steege et al. (1243092) report the results from a network of 1170 tree plots arrayed across the Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield, in which the species of all trees with stem diameter >10 centimeters were identified. The tree flora comprised a total of about 16,000 species. However, just 227 very common Amazonian species accounted for half of the trees in the Amazon—the world's most diverse forest.

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