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Geomorphic control of rain-forest floristic composition in French Guiana: more than a soil filtering effect?

Guitet S., Freycon V., Brunaux O., Pélissier R., Sabatier D., Couteron P.. 2016. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 32 (1) : p. 22-40.

DOI: 10.1017/S0266467415000620

The influence of geomorphological features on rain-forest diversity has been reported in different Amazonian regions. Soil filtering is often assumed to underlie the observed geomorphic control on the floristic composition but other hypotheses related to biogeography or long-term forest dynamics are also possible. We tested relationships between geomorphology, soil properties and forest composition in French Guiana rain forest using a recent geomorphological map and a large dataset comprising 3132 0.2-ha plots and 421 soil cores. Soil properties were characterized by laboratory analyses and by field descriptions indicating drainage capacity and classification according to the World Reference Base (WRB). The influence of soils and geomorphology on beta-diversity was tested using variance partitioning and ANOVA-like tests. Our results confirm the hypothesis of a strong relationship between geomorphological landscapes and soil properties. Soil filtering significantly influenced the abundance of more than 40 species or groups of species. However geomorphic control of forest composition involves much more than the effects of the soil, which only explain a minor part of the broad-scale patterns of forest diversity related to geomorphological landscapes. These results reinforce the alternative hypotheses linking geomorphological landscapes to long-term forest change under the control of historical processes that shaped forest diversity.

Mots-clés : forêt tropicale humide; composition botanique; facteur édaphique; géomorphologie; dynamique des populations; biogéographie; propriété physicochimique du sol; structure du sol; guyane française; france

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