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Diversity and Zonation of the Forests and Woodlands of the Mountains of Northern Socotra, Yemen

Harald Kürschner, Peter Hein, Norbert Kilian and Mohammed A. Hubaishan
Englera
No. 28, Biodiversity of Socotra Forests, Woodlands and Bryophyte (2006), pp. 11-55
DOI: 10.2307/20358182
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20358182
Page Count: 45
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Diversity and Zonation of the Forests and Woodlands of the Mountains of Northern Socotra, Yemen
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Abstract

Based on field studies by the authors in March-April 2002 and March 2003, the altitudinal zonation of the woodland and forest vegetation in the moister northern part of Socotra Island is described and analysed. The phytosociological surveys along an altitudinal transect in the Haghier Mts from the coastal plain to the summit areas supplemented by surveys on the escarpments of the Hamadero and Ma'alah Plateau revealed a major divide between (semi)deciduous lowland and low montane communities (below c. 750 m) on the one hand and high montane communities at altitudes predominantly between c. 850 and 1500 m on the other hand. Differing in their substrates, climatic situation, floristic affinities and physiognomy, the communities of these two altitudinal ranges are classified in two different alliances, the low montane Crotonion socotrani and the high montane Crotonion sulcifructi all. nov., which can both be included in the new order Acridocarpo socotrani-Crotonetalia socotrani. Within the Crotonion socotrani the typical association (Crotonetum socotrani), usually heavily degraded, dominates the coastal plains and lower foothills, followed by an altitudinal form of which two associations can be distinguished. The slopes above the foothills are covered by forests with emergent Sterculia africana var. socotrana (Adenio sokotrani-Sterculietum socotranae ass. nov.), then above 500 m by a colourful forest with Boswellia ameero (Ruellio insignis-Boswellietum ameero ass. nov.). The high montane Crotonion sulcifructi includes a more widespread association, the Trichodesmo scottii-Cephalocrotonetum socotrani ass. nov., and an association particularly rich in epiphytic bryophytes, the Leucado hagghierensis-Pittosporetum viridiflorum ass. nov., which is restricted to the moistest sites.

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