Tropical Biology Section
Kelloff, Carol L. .
Floristic comparison between the forests of Kaieteur and Kwakwani, Guyana and Barro Colorado Island, Panama.
LOCATED on the north eastern most shoulder of South America is an ancient geological province that underlies the area now known as the Guiana Shield. During the Cretaceous period this igneous-metamorphic basement was covered with layers of sands fused and compressed into what is now known as the Roraima Formation. Through years of erosion cycles the Roraima sandstones have eroded leaving behind the tabletop mountains or tepuis in the Venezuelan Guayana and the Pakaraima Mountains in Guyana. Kaieteur National Park, the only national park of Guyana, is located ca. 150 miles inland from the Atlantic coast. The park is on the eastern edge of the Pakaraima Mountains where the Roraima formation gives way to the lowlands. The main geological feature of the park is where the Potaro River plunges 741 feet in a single drop off the Potaro plateau forming the most spectacular cataract in the world, Kaieteur Falls. Studies of the floral distributions and affinities of the park have shown that this area of the Potaro Plateau has a strong affinity with a Guiana Shield flora and contains both an element from the Roraima sandstone formations (including the tepuis) and an element of a lowland flora. In this study two 1-hectare plots provided tree diversity data of the riparian forest. The plots showed that the forest had almost twice the number of trees 10cm DBH per hectare than the Mora forests of Kwakwani, Guyana or the lowlands of Barro Colorado Island, Panama. The plot studies in the original section of the park, the riparian forest near the waterfalls, shave shown that forest composition, once thought to be fairly homogeneous over large areas, can vary over relatively short distances.
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Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program
1 - Smithsonian Institution, Department of Botany MRC 166, National Museum Of Natural History, Po Box 37012, Washington, DC, 20560-0166, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 10:15 AM