By E. Beck, F. Makeschin, F. Haubrich, M. Richter, J. Bendix, C. Valerezo (auth.), Prof. em. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. Erwin Beck, Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Jörg Bendix, Prof. ret. Dr. rer. nat. Ingrid Kottke, Prof. Dr. agr. Dr. rer. silv. Franz Makeschin, Prof. Dr.

A tropical mountain atmosphere in a single of the "hottest" biodiversity hotspots around the world was once investigated by means of a few 30 examine groups of various disciplines within the common and social sciences. surroundings research gradients: an altitudinal gradient and a gradient of land-use depth and environment regeneration, respectively.

This quantity addresses a mess of ecologically appropriate points: macro- and microclimate; physics, chemistry and biology of soils; water kinfolk, subject turnover and nutrient availability; plant progress and biomass partitioning; floral composition and flora kinds; crops constitution and dynamics; organismic interactions, variety and inhabitants biology of birds, moths and microarthropods; wooded area administration, and reforestation with indigenous species; ethnobotanical and social features. New hypotheses are offered with reference to biodiversity and surroundings functioning, in addition to sustainable administration of an surroundings in a biodiversity hotspot.

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G. Myers (1994). Correspondingly the replacement of old-growth forests by plantations or their temporary use by shifting cultivators is not considered as destruction or deforestation. Only a complete change of land use or the destruction of forest cover which prevents its recovery to more than 10% crown cover enters the FAO statistics as “deforestation” or “forest loss”. Despite this very narrow definition of the FAO, deforestation is the most important process for a decrease in forest area (FAO 2006).

2002) in Colombia who found a pronounced decline in ant species richness along an altitudinal gradient (also, for a palaeotropical altitudinal gradient of ants, see Bruehl et al. 1999). T. Longino (personal communication) in Costa Rica. However, no appropriate data along a complete altitudinal gradient are available from the tropical Andes so far. Birds are the best known group of animals in Ecuador. The Eastern slope of the Andes is renowned for its outstanding bird diversity (Rahbek et al. 1995; Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a).

Comparisons of inventories from the RBSF with other montane neotropical sites are hampered by: 1. The scarcity or absence of such inventories; 2. Differences in sampling schemes; 3. Differences in elevational range and area of the sites. One of the most suitable approaches is therefore to compare the local (alpha) diversity. Vascular epiphytes in the RBSF are outstandingly speciose. Single trees hosted up to 98 species (Werner et al. 2005), among the highest species number recorded for single trees.

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