Hyperdominance in the Amazonian tree flora

Hans Ter Steege*, Nigel C.A. Pitman, Daniel Sabatier, Christopher Baraloto, Rafael P. Salomão, Juan Ernesto Guevara, Oliver L. Phillips, Carolina V. Castilho, William E. Magnusson, Jean François Molino, Abel Monteagudo, Percy Núñez Vargas, Juan Carlos Montero, Ted R. Feldpausch, Eurídice N.Honorio Coronado, Tim J. Killeen, Bonifacio Mostacedo, Rodolfo Vasquez, Rafael L. Assis, John TerborghFlorian Wittmann, Ana Andrade, William F. Laurance, Susan G.W. Laurance, Beatriz S. Marimon, Ben Hur Marimon, Ima Célia Guimarães Vieira, Iêda Leão Amaral, Roel Brienen, Hernán Castellanos, Dairon Cárdenas López, Joost F. Duivenvoorden, Hugo F. Mogollón, Francisca Dionízia De Almeida Matos, Nállarett Dávila, Roosevelt García-Villacorta, Pablo Roberto Stevenson Diaz, Flávia Costa, Thaise Emilio, Carolina Levis, Juliana Schietti, Priscila Souza, Alfonso Alonso, Francisco Dallmeier, Alvaro Javier Duque Montoya, Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade, Alejandro Araujo-Murakami, Luzmila Arroyo, Rogerio Gribel, Bruce Hoffman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

908 Citations (Scopus)


The vast extent of the Amazon Basin has historically restricted the study of its tree communities to the local and regional scales. Here, we provide empirical data on the commonness, rarity, and richness of lowland tree species across the entire Amazon Basin and Guiana Shield (Amazonia), collected in 1170 tree plots in all major forest types. Extrapolations suggest that Amazonia harbors roughly 16,000 tree species, of which just 227 (1.4%) account for half of all trees. Most of these are habitat specialists and only dominant in one or two regions of the basin. We discuss some implications of the finding that a small group of species - less diverse than the North American tree flora - accounts for half of the world's most diverse tree community.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1243092
Issue number6156
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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