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Ecology and distribution of the Malesian podocarps

Enright, N.J. and Jaffré, T. (2011) Ecology and distribution of the Malesian podocarps. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 95 . pp. 57-78.

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Podocarp species and genus richness is higher in the Malesian region than anywhere else on earth, with maximum genus richness in New Guinea and New Caledonia and maximum species richness in New Guinea and Borneo. Members of the Podocarpaceae occur across the whole geographic and altitudinal range occupied by forests and shrublands in the region. There is a strong tendency for podocarp dominance of vegetation to be restricted either to high-altitude sites close to the limit of tree growth or to other sites that might restrict plant growth in terms of water relations and nutrient supply (e.g., skeletal soils on steep slopes and ridges, heath forests, ultramafic parent material). Although some species are widespread in lowland forests, they are generally present at very low density, raising questions concerning their regeneration ecology and competitive ability relative to co-occurring angiosperm tree species. A number of species in the region are narrowly distributed, being restricted to single islands or mountain tops, and are of conservation concern. Our current understanding of the distribution and ecology of Malesian podocarps is reviewed in this chapter, and areas for further research are identified.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
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