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Population structure and canopy use by Coussapoa microcarpa, a strangler hemiepiphyte from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 May 2013

Luís Francisco Mello Coelho
Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita, 13506-900, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil Instituto de Pesquisas de Cananéia, 11990-000, Cananéia, SP, Brazil
Marco Aurélio Pizo*
Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita. 13506-900, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil
2Corresponding author. Email:


We studied density, size structure, and establishment sites of Coussapoa microcarpa in the Brazilian Atlantic rain forest. This species is a hemiepiphyte that begins its life in the tops of trees and survives the death of its host to become a free-standing tree. All individuals of C. microcarpa already rooted in the ground were recorded in a 3.43 ha (1.75 ha in lowland and 1.68 ha in submontane) sample of forest plots. Data on total height, root diameter at breast height, host height and diameter at breast height, as well as height, type and diameter of the establishment site were collected. Coussapoa microcarpa present a high density (36.5 ind. ha−1) and the population studied was composed mainly of young individuals. Young and adults differed in establishment sites. The diameter of establishment sites of young was narrower than the diameter of establishment sites of adults, which points out to a limiting factor (diameter of establishment site) regulating the establishment of C. microcarpa.

Short Communication
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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