Tropical rain forest
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The impact of soil cover organization on the forest community has been studied in a 19-ha tract at Piste de St Elie station in French Guiana. 195 species each represented by at least 10 individuals were chosen from records of the position, diameter at breast height (dbh) and precise identification by botanical sampling of 12104 ligneous plants (dbh ≥ 10 cm). Spatial variations in the soil were mapped using the method proposed by Boulet et al. (1982). The soil mapping units correspond to the successive stages of evolution of a currently unbalanced ferralitic cover. These stages describe firstly the thinning by erosion of the microaggregated upper horizon and secondly the mineralogical changes under more or less extended hydromorphic conditions. The degree of evolution of ferralitic cover is also related to the hydrodynamic functioning and chemical properties of the soil. Geological substrate, topography and slope have also been taken into account. Analysis of the influence of environmental variables on plant cover has been performed using the Ecological Profiles method and Correspondence Analysis (CA) of the table of ecological profiles. The forest community seems to be dependent on the soil and the topographical features that govern it. There are significant, exclusive soil-species links for each soil functioning mapping unit. However, the highest proportion of significant positive links is connected with a thick microaggregated horizon (25%). Several species are of real value as indicators and more particularly enable differentiation between the forest stands of typical ferralitic soil and the ones of thinned out, transformed and hydromorphic soils. The CA of the species by environmental variables matrices reveals two significant factorial axes. The first can be associated with the drainage mainly related to the thinning of the soil and the second with the hydromorphic conditions related to the topography. The vegetation ordination of the stands (≅ 0.25 ha) delimited in the various soil domains clearly shows that changes in ferralitic cover and in particular the transition from soil with deep vertical drainage to soil with superficial lateral drainage is accompanied by substantial changes in the forest community.
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