Ecosociological studies in Ecuadorian bryophyte communities. II. Syntaxonomy of the submontane and montane epiphytic vegetation of S Ecuador
Parolly, Gerald; Kürschner, Harald
A phytosociological study of the trunk epiphytic bryophyte communities of the montane complex (Submontane, Lower and Upper montane forest) of the Parque Nacional Podocarpus and neighbouring areas in S Ecuador has been performed. Eight site-ecologically differentiated communities occur along an altitudinal gradient from 950-2950 m. Syntaxonomically, they fall into two zonal groups, the submontane Symbiezidio transversalis-Ceratolejeunion cubensis with two and the montane Omphalantho filiformis-Plagiochilion apicedentis with six communities. In classifying the communities, the concepts of ecologically site-differentiated subassociations and altitudinal forms has been applied along with geographical races and deductive syntaxonomy. The latter was caused by the record of the Plagiochilo deflexiramae-Lejeuneetum pallescentis previously known from Peru with a slightly different set of diagnostic species. A Frullania kunzei derivative community from devastated montane forest sites (clearings) stands apart in floristic-syntaxonomic and structural respects. Three communities are described as new to science, including the Plagiochilo deflexiramaeLejeuneetum pallescentis subass. pterobryetosum and the Plagiochilo tabinensis-Bazzanietum stoloniferae (subass. typicum and bazzanietosum tricrenatae). The bryophyte communities distinguished correspond perfectly to the supporting forest types (partly at association level) and thus provide a valuable tool in establishing altitudinal belts and monitoring the degree of disturbance in highly complex and diverse forest ecosystems.