Modern pollen-rain characteristics of tall terra firme moist evergreen forest, southern Amazonia

Gosling, William D.; Mayle, Francis E.; Tate, Nicholas J. and Killeen, Timothy J. (2005). Modern pollen-rain characteristics of tall terra firme moist evergreen forest, southern Amazonia. Quaternary Research, 64(3) pp. 284–297.



The paucity of modern pollen-rain data from Amazonia constitutes a significant barrier to understanding the Late Quaternary vegetation history of this globally important tropical forest region. Here, we present the first modern pollen-rain data for tall terra firme moist evergreen Amazon forest, collected between 1999 and 2001 from artificial pollen traps within a 50020 m permanent study plot (14-34V50WS, 60-49V48WW) in Noel Kempff Mercado National Park (NE Bolivia). Spearman’s rank correlations were performed to assess the extent of spatial and inter-annual variability in the pollen rain, whilst statistically distinctive taxa were identified using Principal Components Analysis (PCA). Comparisons with the floristic and basal area data of the plot (stems 10 cm d.b.h.) enabled the degree to which taxa are over/under-represented in the pollen rain to be assessed (using R-rel values). Moraceae/Urticaceae dominates the pollen rain (64% median abundance) and is also an important constituent of the vegetation, accounting for 16% of stems 10 cm d.b.h. and ca. 11% of the total basal area. Other important pollen taxa are Arecaceae (cf. Euterpe), Melastomataceae/Combretaceae, Cecropia, Didymopanax, Celtis, and Alchornea. However, 75% of stems and 67% of the total basal area of the plot 10 cm d.b.h. belong to species which are unidentified in the pollen rain, the most important of which are Phenakospermum guianensis (a banana-like herb) and the key canopy-emergent trees, Erisma uncinatum and Qualea paraensis.

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