Taxonomic Diversity and Taxonomic Dominance: The Example of Forest Plantations in South-Central Chile

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DOI: 10.4236/oje.2015.55017    2,985 Downloads   3,538 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The study describes an analysis of the impact of plantation forestry on the taxonomic diversity of plants in south-central Chile. In this biodiversity hotspot, plantations of non-native species like Pinus radiata D. Don, Eucalyptus globules Labill. and Populus nigra L. have largely replaced native deciduous and sclerophyllous forests. The study compares taxonomic diversity of commercial plantations and native forests using taxonomic distinctness and diversity and the Simpson diversity index. Most of these indexes attest a considerably reduced taxonomic diversity to plantations. However, taxonomic distinctness values for P. radiata plantations seem to contradict other indexes at first glance. It is shown that the higher values of taxonomic distinctness of P. radiata plantations come from taxonomic dominance. Taxonomic dominance describes the fact that P. radiate—a member of the infradivison of Gymnospermae-bears only little taxonomic resemblance to other plants, which are Angiospermae. Thus, it strongly dominates the taxonomic distinctness index and the high taxonomic resemblance of other plant within its plots is neglected. Indexes are developed that identify such dominant species and adjust for taxonomic dominance in taxonomic diversity analyses. After this adjustment, all indexes provide a coherent image on taxonomic diversity. Plantation forestry produces a considerable decline of taxonomic diversity. Taxonomic diversity analysis provides valuable insights in biodiversity impacts and complements standard analyses.

Cite this paper

Braun, A. (2015) Taxonomic Diversity and Taxonomic Dominance: The Example of Forest Plantations in South-Central Chile. Open Journal of Ecology, 5, 199-212. doi: 10.4236/oje.2015.55017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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