Gonzalez-Rivas B, Tigabu M, Gerhardt K, Castro-Marin G, Oden PC
Species composition, diversity and local uses of tropical dry deciduous and gallery forests in Nicaragua
Biodiversity and Conservation: 2006 15:1509-1527

The floristic composition and diversity of tropical dry deciduous and gallery forests were studied in Chacocente Wildlife Refuge, located on the Pacific coast in Nicaragua during 1994 and 2000. Density, dominance and frequency as well as species and family important values were computed to characterize the floristic composition. A variety of diversity measures were also calculated to examine heterogeneity in each forest community. A total of 29 families, 49 genera and 59 species were represented in 2 ha dry deciduous forest. In the gallery forest, the number of families, genera and species recorded in 2000 inventory was 33, 48 and 58, respectively and slightly higher than the 1994 inventory. The number of stems >= 10 cm dbh varied from 451 to 489 per hectare in the deciduous forest, and from 283 to 298 per hectare in the gallery forest. The basal area was much larger for species in the gallery than dry deciduous forest. Fabaceae, sub family Papilionoideae, was the most specious family in the deciduous forest while Meliaceae was the dominant family in the gallery forest. Similarity in species composition and abundance between deciduous and gallery forests was low. In terms of species diversity, the gallery forest was found more diverse than the deciduous forest using Fisher's diversity index. Both forest communities were characterized by a typical inverse J shape. Therefore, emphasis should be given to the protection of rare species, i.e. as the forests are still under continued human pressure, an immediate action should be taken to conserve the remaining flora.

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