Research Consortium for Belizean Studies


Floristic Composition, Diversity, and Biomass of a Protected Tropical Evergreen Forest Belize


A challenge in community ecology is the development of ecosystem baselines, allowing the assessment of the variation in the ecological dynamics through different temporal and spatial scales. To our best knowledge, no studies have been carried out in seasonal evergreen forests of Belize to establish a baseline for future monitoring. Hence, a floristic study of the woody plant species diversity and composition was carried out at the Billy Barquedier National Park (BBNP) to develop an ecosystemic baseline for the assessment of the originally implemented conservation strategies. A thorough floristic survey was performed from May to August 2015 in 42 rectangular plots (500 m2) randomly allocated along the 100 to 500 m elevation gradient of the BBNP. Species richness, diversity, composition, and aboveground biomass were assessed. Likewise, information of a series of indicators on protection and risk situation (e.g., IUCN Red List of threatened species, CITES categories), and restoration for each relevant species are also provided. The BBNP is an important forest with 67 woody species distributed in 30 plant families. Terminalia amazona and Corozo palm Attalea cohune are the most important species in the reserve, in terms of abundance, frequency, and biomass. A clear trend between biodiversity metrics, elevation, and aboveground biomass was noted. This study contributes to understand relevant ecological topics as well as provides key elements for the management and conservation of the BBNP area and Belize.


Tropical Conservation Science

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