Evergreen forest types of the central plains in Cambodia: floristic composition and ecological characteristics

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Current vegetation maps show evergreen forests of Cambodia as one homogenous forest type. However, ecological field studies in the central plains demonstrated a heterogenous mosaic of different evergreen forest types, each with a unique species composition and ecological characteristics. Based on six botanical expeditions, we describe four lowland evergreen forest types: 1) riverine forest dominated by Dipterocarpus costatus (Dipterocarpaceae); 2) tall dipterocarp forest dominated by Anisoptera costata (Dipterocarpaceae); 3) swamp forest dominated by Macaranga triloba (Euphorbiaceae); and 4) ‘Sralao', an open forest with a monodominance of Lagerstroemia cochinchinensis (Lythraceae). Ordination by non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (NMDS) indicated that the four forest types represent well-separated floristic entities with Sralao as the most deviant community. The highest species diversity was found in the riverine forest (urn:x-wiley:0107055X:media:njb12662:njb12662-math-0001 = 2.65), followed by tall dipterocarp forest (urn:x-wiley:0107055X:media:njb12662:njb12662-math-0001 = 2.53) and swamp forest (urn:x-wiley:0107055X:media:njb12662:njb12662-math-0001 = 2.34), whereas the Sralao forest had the lowest species diversity (urn:x-wiley:0107055X:media:njb12662:njb12662-math-0001 = 1.64). We argue that botanical fieldwork remains essential to refine vegetation maps otherwise based on remote sensing, and that knowledge of species composition is essential to conserve Indochina's vanishing evergreen forest biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Book seriesNordic Journal of Botany
Number of pages15
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jun 2022

ID: 310835589