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      An estimate of the number of tropical tree species

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼ 40,000 and ∼ 53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼ 19,000-25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼ 4,500-6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.

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          Most cited references 25

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          The Relation Between the Number of Species and the Number of Individuals in a Random Sample of an Animal Population

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            Changes in Plant Community Diversity and Floristic Composition on Environmental and Geographical Gradients

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              The Commonness, And Rarity, of Species

               F. Preston (1948)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                June 16 2015
                June 16 2015
                June 16 2015
                June 01 2015
                : 112
                : 24
                : 7472-7477
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1423147112
                26034279
                © 2015

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