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Gayana. Botánica

On-line version ISSN 0717-6643


VIDAL, OSVALDO J et al. Woodland communities in the Chilean cold-temperate zone (Baker and Pascua basins): Floristic composition and morpho-ecological transition. Gayana Bot. [online]. 2011, vol.68, n.2, pp.141-154. ISSN 0717-6643.

This study describes the floristic composition and morpho-ecological transition of woodlands along a climatic gradient in the southern cold temperate zone of Chilean Patagonia. A total of 256 phytosociological relevés were performed across a 150 km NE-SW transect to record vascular plant species. Classification (cluster analysis) and ordination (principal component analysis) techniques were used to segregate and examine the communities. Biodiversity indicators including richness and abundances of species natives and exotics, importance values, Raunkiaer plant life-forms, diversity indices and indicator species were calculated to describe community attributes. Beta diversity was analysed using the Jaccard index. Additionally, the current anthropogenic disturbances affecting this vegetation are discussed. In total, 11 woodland communities belonging to 3 morpho-ecological groups were segregated: a) meso-hygromorphic woodlands belonging to the Baker basin, mostly composed of deciduous forests containing relatively moderate values of richness and diversity but high richness of exotics, b) hygromorphic woodlands belonging to the southern segment of the Baker basin and along the Pascua basin, composed of evergreen forest containing the relatively highest values of richness and diversity and very low richness of exotics and c) high-Andean dwarf woodlands distributed at high elevations in both basins, composed of deciduous krummholz containing the lowest richness and diversity and no exotics. The replacement of deciduous by evergreen communities at low elevations occurs around the latitude 48°S. Anthropogenic disturbances like logging by rural landowners, overgrazing by livestock and road construction are promoting biological invasions in the Baker basin forests, while the forests in the Pascua basin remain pristine since no human population occurs there

Keywords : Biogeographical transition; southern cold temperate zone; anthropogenic disturbances; pristine forests; Aysén.

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