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Disturbance regimes drive the diversity of regional floristic pools across Guianan rainforest landscapes

Guitet S., Sabatier D., Brunaux O., Couteron P., Denis T., Freycon V., Gonzalez S., Herault B., Jaouen G., Molino J.F., Pélissier R., Richard-Hansen C., Vincent G.. 2018. Scientific Reports, 8 : 12 p..

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-22209-9

Disturbances control rainforest dynamics, and, according to the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH), disturbance regime is a key driver of local diversity. Variations in disturbance regimes and their consequences on regional diversity at broad spatiotemporal scales are still poorly understood. Using multidisciplinary large-scale inventories and LiDAR acquisitions, we developed a robust indicator of disturbance regimes based on the frequency of a few early successional and widely distributed pioneer species. We demonstrate at the landscape scale that tree-species diversity and disturbance regimes vary with climate and relief. Significant relationships between the disturbance indicator, tree-species diversity and soil phosphorus content agree with the hypothesis that rainforest diversity is controlled both by disturbance regimes and long-term ecosystem stability. These effects explain the broad-scale patterns of floristic diversity observed between landscapes. In fact, species-rich forests in highlands, which have benefited from long-term stability combined with a moderate and regular regime of local disturbances, contrast with less diversified forests on recently shaped lowlands, which have undergone more recent changes and irregular dynamics. These results suggest that taking the current disturbance regime into account and including geomorphological stratifications in climate-vegetation models may be an effective way to improve the prediction of changes in species diversity under climate change.

Mots-clés : forêt tropicale humide; forêt; biodiversité; composition botanique; flore; altitude; pluviométrie; géomorphologie; inventaire forestier continu; télédétection; inventaire forestier; Écosystème forestier; facteur climatique; facteur édaphique; guyane française; france

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