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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023 / Large old tropical trees as pools of biodiversity: the Life On Trees program

Maurice Leponce, Yves Basset, Ángela Aristizábal-Botero, Joaquina Albán Castillo, Guillermo Aguilar Rengifo, Jérôme Barbut, Bart Buyck, Phil Butterill, Kim Calders, Jean-François Carrias, Damien Catchpole, Barbara D'hont, Jacques Delabie, Jochen Drescher, Damien Ertz, André Heughebaert, Valérie Hofstetter, Céline Leroy, Antoine Leveque, Victor Macedo Cuenca, Frédéric Melki, Johan Michaux, Luis Ocupa-Horna, Luis Pillaca Huacre, Eddy Poirier, Thibault Ramage, Germinal Rouhan, Vincent Rufray, Marcos Salas Guerrero, Stefan Scheu, Jürgen Schmidl, Diana Silva Dávila, Alain Vanderpoorten, Claire Villemant, Nabil Youdjou, and Olivier Pascal (2023)

Large old tropical trees as pools of biodiversity: the Life On Trees program

In: GTOE 2023, 6th European Conference of Tropical Ecology, Ceske Budejovice, 19-23 June 2023.

The aim of the Life On Trees (LOT) program is to generate baseline knowledge about the number of eukaryotic species a single large aged tropical tree can host and to understand how these communities of organisms are assembled. The program is conducted in the Amazon and Andes biodiversity hotspots. Our first project, LOT-Amazon 2022, was performed on a spectacular Dussia tree (Fabaceae), which was 50 m high and 45 m wide. The sampling was carried out by professional climbers, guided by experts of the different eukaryotic groups studied (plants, fungi, animals, protists). To better understand the contribution of different tree components (bark, leaves, fruits, flowers, living and dead wood) to overall tree biodiversity, we assigned observations into communities based on height zone or microhabitat and will examine similarities and nestedness in the composition of these communities. The first results show that a single tree can host a tremendous diversity (e.g., 42 orchids, 28 ferns, and more than 200 bryophytes, 180 lichen species identified, which are world records considering the 400m elevation). This confirms that large old tropical trees are important pools of biodiversity probably in relation with the variety of local microhabitats and tree age. Funding: Fonds de Dotation Biotope pour la Nature Web and/or Twitter account:

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