Just a few tree species dominate Amazon forest

Guest post by Jessica Shugart

This Baboonwood tree, a member of the nutmeg family, bears fruit in the Mamiraua Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon and is one of the hyperdominant species found in the rainforest.

F. Wittmann

The Amazonian rainforest, known to be one of the most species-rich areas on the planet, is actually dominated by a only few types of trees.

While the forest harbors around 16,000 tree species, only 227 of them account for nearly half of the trees that thrive there. The palm Euterpe precatoria is most abundant.

Researchers, who report the finding October 17 in Science, came to this conclusion after tediously cataloguing 1,170 different tree plots throughout the region. The work could help conservationists and climate scientists develop better strategies for protecting the forest.

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