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Tropical forests include a diversity of habitats, which has led to specialization in plants. Near Iquitos, in the Peruvian Amazon, nutrient-rich clay forests surround nutrient-poor white-sand forests, each harboring a unique composition of habitat specialist trees. We tested the hypothesis that the combination of impoverished soils and herbivory creates(More)
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(More)
In an edaphically heterogeneous area in the Peruvian Amazon, clay soils and nutrient-poor white sands each harbor distinctive plant communities. To determine whether a trade-off between growth and antiherbivore defense enforces habitat specialization on these two soil types, we conducted a reciprocal transplant study of seedlings of 20 species from six(More)
Estimates of extinction risk for Amazonian plant and animal species are rare and not often incorporated into land-use policy and conservation planning. We overlay spatial distribution models with historical and projected deforestation to show that at least 36% and up to 57% of all Amazonian tree species are likely to qualify as globally threatened under(More)
Environmental heterogeneity in the tropics is thought to lead to specialization in plants and thereby contribute to the diversity of the tropical flora. We examine this idea with data on the habitat specificity of 35 western Amazonian species from the genera Protium, Crepidospermum, and Tetragastris in the monophyletic tribe Protieae (Burseraceae) mapped on(More)
Herbivores are often implicated in the generation of the extraordinarily diverse tropical flora. One hypothesis linking enemies to plant diversification posits that the evolution of novel defenses allows plants to escape their enemies and expand their ranges. When range expansion involves entering a new habitat type, this could accelerate defense evolution(More)
Understanding the mechanisms generating species distributions remains a challenge, especially in hyperdiverse tropical forests. We evaluated the role of rainfall variation, soil gradients and herbivory on seedling mortality, and how variation in seedling performance along these gradients contributes to habitat specialisation. In a 4-year experiment,(More)
Arthropods represent most of global biodiversity, with the highest diversity found in tropical rain forests. Nevertheless, we have a very incomplete understanding of how tropical arthropod communities are assembled. We conducted a comprehensive mass sampling of arthropod communities within three major habitat types of lowland Amazonian rain forest,(More)
The extent to which pre-Columbian societies altered Amazonian landscapes is hotly debated. We performed a basin-wide analysis of pre-Columbian impacts on Amazonian forests by overlaying known archaeological sites in Amazonia with the distributions and abundances of 85 woody species domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples. Domesticated species are five times(More)
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