Establishment, development and diversity of epiphytic vegetation in recovering tropical montane rain forests
05 / 2001 - unknown
Context: The ecology of the epiphytic vegetation in tropical rain forests is poorly studied, although epiphytes are an important element in terms of diversity, number of individuals and probably also in the water and nutrient cycle of the forest ecosystem as a whole. Aim: Studying the process of establishment and development of the epiphytic vegetation through time. Getting insight into the effect of different climatic factors on epiphytic establishment and development. Building knowledge on the recovery of epiphytic diversity in secondary successional forests, and on factors influencing this diversity. Methods: The establishment of epiphytes, i.e. the first colonisation, will be studied by placing wooden boards in primary lowland and upper montane rain forests with about 3000 mm annual precipitation. To determine the change of the epiphytic vegetation in time and space, the species composition in secondary forests of different ages will be monitored and compared. The epiphytic vegetation of mature rain forests will be used as reference for mature epiphytic vegetation.