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Selected Publication:

Hietz, P..
(2005): Conservation of epiphyte diversity in Mexican coffee plantations
Conservation Biology, 19, 391-399

Coffee plantations have replaced many lower-montane forests in the Neotropics, and ongoing intensification is converting traditional polycultures with a variety of shade trees to plantations with no or monospecific shade trees. To evaluate the impact of coffee cultivation on epiphyte diversity, I surveyed vascular epiphytes on shade trees in nine different coffee plantations and compared records with those in four natural forests in central Veracruz, Mexico. Eighty-nine species occurred in coffee plantations, and 104 species occurred in natural forests. The number of epiphytic species in traditional polycultures with old shade trees, mostly of the genus Inga, was similar to that in forests, but plantations with small trees and sparse shade hosted fewer epiphytes than those with large trees. Epiphyte communities were, however, more homogeneous in coffee plantations than in forests, possibly because of a drier microclimate and the lack of large and long-lived trees. These results demonstrate the value of traditional polycultures for epiphyte diversity, show the importance of conserving large shade trees, and suggest that these coffee systems may not be suitable for all epiphytes.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Hietz Peter

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
coffee culture
shade tree
species richness estimate
vegetation analysis

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