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Abstract Detail

Tropical Biology

Spagnuolo, Edward [1], Wilf, Peter [1], Kooyman, Robert [2].

An open vegetation-plot database for Southeast Asia: tool for ecology, conservation, and paleo-conservation.

Southeast Asia is known for its immense biodiversity, disastrous levels of forest clearing, and elevated extinction-risk. Vegetation plots are a standard tool used to analyze forest dynamics and correlate community structure to biotic and abiotic gradients. Plot-based ecological analyses of Southeast Asian forests have proven invaluable for understanding floristic composition and community dynamics; however, raw plot data is often left unpublished or remains unconsolidated across a wide variety of regional literature. To address the need for open-access floristic data, we are collecting published inventories to construct a vegetation-plot database of Southeast Asia. This effort will help evolutionary biologists, conservation biologists, macroecologists, and paleobotanists (with interests in living relatives of fossil lineages) to study vegetation dynamics across an anthropogenically endangered region. Our survey, focused on Malesia and Indochina, includes plot-based floristic data or small-scale species checklists from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea. So far, we have found over 285 papers that contain species-level plot data, with 45% containing abundance measurements. More than half of all plots are in Borneo and mainland Asia, and most sample lowland dipterocarp-dominated forests. We are using Tabula ( to extract plot data from published tables or manually inputting into Excel, then using the WorldFloraR module (Kindt, 2020, Appl. Plant Sci. 8, e11388) to standardize plant names to the World Flora Online taxonomic backbone ( The diverse potential uses of the dataset include paleoecological studies of ancient plant lineages that are known as fossils and are also extant in Southeast Asian rainforests. Plot analyses will allow fine-scale quantification of the influence of abiotic variables on the dominance distributions of Gondwanan-sourced and other ancient lineages, thereby providing new insights into how ancient forests may have functioned, while informing contemporary efforts to conserve evolutionary heritage.

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1 - Pennsylvania State University, Dept. of Geosciences, University Park, PA, 16802, USA
2 - Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, 2109, Australia

Vegetation Plots
Southeast Asia
Vegetation Dynamics
Rainforest Conservation
Vegetation Plot Database

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P3, Tropical Biology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P3TB002
Abstract ID:214
Candidate for Awards:None

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