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Data Paper (Biosciences)
Trees, shrubs and herbs of the coastal Myrtaceae swamp forest (Región de La Araucanía, Chile): a dataset
expand article infoJimmy Pincheira-Ulbrich, Elías Andrade Mansilla§, Fernando Peña-Cortés, Cristián Vergara Fernández
‡ Laboratorio de Planificación Territorial, Departamento de Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Rudecindo Ortega 02950, Temuco, Chile
§ Facultad de Educación, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Temuco, Chile
Open Access

Abstract

Background

Species lists are fundamental for knowledge of species diversity in regions subject to intense anthropogenic pressure, especially in poorly-studied ecosystems. The dataset comes from an inventory conducted in 30 fragments of Myrtaceae swamp forest, located in an agroforestry matrix landscape of the coastal La Araucanía Region in Chile. The data collection was carried out using line transect sampling, which was traced through the core of each fragment orientated towards its longest axis. The dataset provides a record of 55 species (24 trees, 1 vine [as a host], 16 herbs and 15 shrubs) including accidental epiphytes (n = 7), hemiparasites (n = 4), host (n = 10) and additionally woody debris (n = 36). The most frequent trees in the landscape were Myrceugenia exsucca (n = 36 records) and Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii (n = 33 records), species that were also the most common hosts. Drimys winteri was a companion species, other trees and shrubs generally being rarely observed, as was the case of the introduced species (Prunus avium, Rubus constrictus and Ulex europaeus). Branches were the most common microhabitat for hemiparasites. Within this group, Lepidoceras chilense was the most frequent species. For accidental epiphytes, Drimys winteri, which commonly grows on the ground (soil), were the most common species found in the main trunk crotch. Some unusual observations were the climber Cissus striata as host of Tristerix corymbosus (hemiparasite) and Tristerix corymbosus as host of Lepidoceras chilense (hemiparasite).

New information

This study represents a landscape-scale sample of the swamp forest, which is distributed in a dispersed pattern over a large stretch of Chile. The data were collected from 30 forest patches (from 0.05 to 936 ha), located on the coast of the Araucanía. The database includes the presence of 55 species of vascular plants in 356 records. The main novelty of this contribution is the systematic classification of species under six traits, never before reported in the same database: (i) condition (coarse woody debris, fallen log, live, snag), (ii) habit (herb, shrub, tree), (iii) growth microhabitat (e.g. tree trunk, branch, main trunk crotch), (iv) growth form (accidental epiphyte, hemiparasite, terricolous, vegetative), (v) host species (as appropriate) and (vi) relative location of the species in the sampled patch and surrounding areas (core, border, matrix). Species not previously observed in these forests were: Gavilea spp., Hieracium spp., Lophosoria quadripinnata, Berberis actinacantha, Gaultheria phillyreifolia, Ovidia pillo-pillo, Amomyrtus meli and Caldcluvia paniculata. In addition, two introduced species are novelties for the catalogue of vascular plants of Chile (Cupressus macrocarpa and Prunus avium). Several of these ecosystem traits are indeed new reports for these types of forests (e.g. accidental epiphytes, fallen logs, species-host relationship); at the same time, more frequent data (i.e. species composition, habit) are found in different contributions, making the comprehensive process of analysis difficult. Accordingly, the database is made available in this manuscript.

Keywords

biodiversity, cultural landscape, metacommunity, species richness, species inventory, wetlands

Introduction

Species lists are fundamental for knowledge of species diversity in regions subject to strong anthropogenic pressure (Funk 2006, Hortal et al. 2007, Hermoso et al. 2013, Pincheira-Ulbrich et al. 2016, Cornwell et al. 2019).

South American swamp forests dominated by species of the family Myrtaceae Juss. are distributed in Chile in a dispersed pattern from 30ºS (Coquimbo) to 41º28'S (Puerto Montt), in a transition from semi-arid to temperate rain climate, representing one of the widest geographic and climatic distribution ecosystems in Chile (Maldonado and Villagrán 2001, San Martín 2005, Armesto et al. 2007, Ramírez et al. 2014).

To the north, their formations are located along the coast, while towards the centre and south of Chile, the patches are found both on the coast and in central plains and less frequently in the Andean foothills. Their location and extension are determined by the presence of surface phreatic layers, so the type of soil does not seem to be a determining factor in their growth. In this sense, these forests are described as azonal hydrophilic formations, meaning that their presence is not determined by the regional climate, but rather by an excess of edaphic humidity (see Amigo and Ramírez 1998, Maldonado and Villagrán 2001, Peña-Cortés et al. 2011, Ramírez et al. 2014).

Swamp forests are a particular type of wetland, classified by the Ramsar Convention as “forested freshwater wetlands”. At the international level, wetland areas have been recognised for their high biological and environmental value and as providers of ecosystem services (Zedler and Kercher 2005,Barbier 2013, Marton et al. 2015). In Chile, there is a Wetland Protection Policy expressed in the National Wetland Strategy and the National Biodiversity Strategy. However, swamp forests are one of the most altered ecosystems in this country, as they have frequently been threatened by human use pressure for agricultural fields, grazing and firewood extraction (San Martín et al. 1988, Squeo F et al. 2001, Ramírez et al. 2014).

These ecosystems are home to a rich diversity of vascular plants that varies from eight species in a highly-degraded site in central Chile (Ramírez et al. 2014) to 61 species in better-conserved sites in the central-southern zone of this country (Hauenstein et al. 2014). At a regional scale, the richness varies between 158 and 182 species, amongst landscapes in the northern area (San Martín et al. 1988) and south of their distribution (Larrain 2011), respectively. Along the coast of Araucania, these forests are mainly composed of Myrceugenia exsucca O.Berg and Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii (Hook. & Arn.) Nied. They are represented by an area of 7,675 ha, which is approximately 4.6% of this territory and where 427 forest fragments are distributed within a predominantly agricultural and forestry matrix. Forest is found exclusively in flat areas (alluvial plains), associated with both watercourses and different levels of soil waterlogging (Peña-Cortés et al. 2011).

In this contribution, we present a database of vascular plants in 30 swamp forest fragments distributed along the coast of the Araucanía Region (Table 1, Suppl. material 1). The data describes (i) species composition (Fig. 1) , (ii) condition (coarse woody debris, fallen log, live, snag), (iii) habit (herb, shrub, tree, Fig. 1), (iv) growth microhabitat (e.g. tree trunk, branch, main trunk crotch, fallen log, soil, Fig. 2), (v) growth form [accidental epiphyte (Fig. 3), hemiparasite (Fig. 4), terricolous (Fig. 5), vegetative], (vi) host species (as appropriate, Fig. 2) and (vii) relative location of the species in the sampled patch and surrounding areas (core, border, matrix). In addition, two introduced species were observed (Cupressus macrocarpa and Prunus avium) that are new to the catalogue of vascular plants of Chile (Rodríguez et al. 2018). Several of the biological backgrounds presented here have not been reported in literature (e.g. Hauenstein et al. 2002, Hauenstein et al. 2017Urrutia-Estrada et al. 2018), so the database is left available in this manuscript. This contribution complements the work of Pincheira-Ulbrich et al. (2016) who reported the complete catalogue of climbing plants and vascular epiphytes in coastal Myrtaceae swamp forest in La Araucanía Region.

Table 1.

Trees, shrubs and herbs of the Myrtaceae swamp forest. Classification of species according to the criteria of Phyllum, Family, Habitat and Geographical origin is based on Rodríguez et al. (2018).

n Specie Phylum Family Habit Geographic origin
1 Acacia melanoxylon R. Br. Magnoliophyta Fabaceae Tree Introduced
2 Acaena spp. Magnoliophyta Rosaceae Herb Native
3 Aextoxicon punctatum Ruiz & Pav. Magnoliophyta Aextoxicaceae Tree Native
4 Amomyrtus luma (Molina) D. Legrand & Kause Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Native
5 Amomyrtus meli (Phil.) D. Legrand & Kausel Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Endemic
6 Antidaphne punctulata (Clos) Kuijt Magnoliophyta Santalaceae Shrub Endemic
7 Aristotelia chilensis (Molina) Stuntz Magnoliophyta Elaeocarpaceae Tree Native
8 Berberis actinacantha Mart. Magnoliophyta Berberidaceae Shrub Endemic
9 Blechnum chilense (Kaulf.) Mett. Pterophyta Blechnaceae Herb Native
10 Blechnum hastatum Kaulf. Pterophyta Blechnaceae Herb Native
11 Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii (Hook. & Arn.) Nied. Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Endemic
12 Caldcluvia paniculata (Cav.) D. Don Magnoliophyta Cunoniaceae Tree Native
13 Chusquea quila Kunth Liliopsida Poaceae Herb Endemic
14 Cissus striata Ruiz & Pav. Magnoliophyta Vitaceae Vine Native
15 Cupressus macrocarpa Hartw Pinophyta Cupressaceae Tree Introduced
16 Dioscorea auriculata Poepp. Liliopsida Dioscoreaceae Herb Endemic
17 Drimys winteri J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. Magnoliophyta Winteraceae Tree Endemic
18 Eucryphia cordifolia Cav. Magnoliophyta Eucryphiaceae Tree Native
19 Fuchsia magellanica Lam. Magnoliophyta Onagraceae Shrub Native
20 Galium hypocarpium (L.) Endl. ex Griseb. Magnoliophyta Rubiaceae Herb Native
21 Gaultheria phillyreifolia (Pers.) Sleumer Magnoliophyta Ericaceae Shrub Native
22 Gavilea spp. Liliopsida Orchidaceae Herb Native
23 Greigia sphacelata (Ruiz & Pav.) Regel Liliopsida Bromeliaceae Herb Native
24 Hieracium spp. Magnoliophyta Asteraceae Herb UD
25 Hydrocotyle poeppigii DC. Magnoliophyta Apiaceae Herb Endemic
26 Juncus spp. Liliopsida Juncaceae Herb Native
27 Lepidoceras chilense (Molina) Kuijt Magnoliophyta Santalaceae Shrub Endemic
28 Lomatia ferruginea (Cav.) R. Br. Magnoliophyta Proteaceae Tree Native
29 Lophosoria quadripinnata (J.F. Gmel.) C. Chr. Pterophyta Dicksoniaceae Herb Native
30 Luma apiculata (DC.) Burret Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Native
31 Luma chequen (Molina) A. Gray Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Endemic
32 Maytenus boaria Molina Magnoliophyta Celastraceae Tree Native
33 Myrceugenia exsucca (DC.) O. Berg Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Native
34 Myrceugenia parvifolia (DC.) Kausel Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Shrub Endemic
35 Myrceugenia planipes (Hook. & Arn.) O. Berg Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Native
36 Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc. Magnoliophyta Haloragaceae Herb Native
37 Nertera granadensis (Mutis ex L.f.) Druce Magnoliophyta Rubiaceae Herb Native
38 Notanthera heterophylla (Ruiz & Pav.) G. Don Magnoliophyta Loranthaceae Shrub Endemic
39 Nothofagus dombeyi (Mirb.) Oerst. Magnoliophyta Nothofagaceae Tree Native
40 Nothofagus obliqua (Mirb.) Oerst. Magnoliophyta Nothofagaceae Tree Native
41 Ovidia pillo-pillo (Gay) Meisn. Magnoliophyta Thymelaeaceae Shrub Endemic
42 Persea lingue (Ruiz & Pav.) Nees Magnoliophyta Lauraceae Tree Native
43 Prunus avium (L.) L. Magnoliophyta Rosaceae Tree Introduced
44 Rhamnus diffusus Clos Magnoliophyta Rhamnaceae Shrub Endemic
45 Rhaphithamnus spinosus (Juss.) Moldenke Magnoliophyta Verbenaceae Shrub Native
46 Ribes trilobum Meyen Magnoliophyta Grossulariaceae Shrub Endemic
47 Rubus constrictus P.J. Müll. & Lefèvre Magnoliophyta Rosaceae Shrub Introduced
48 Salix babylonica L. Magnoliophyta Salicaceae Tree Introduced
49 Salix caprea L. Magnoliophyta Salicaceae Tree Introduced
50 Sophora cassioides (Phil.) Sparre Magnoliophyta Fabaceae Tree Endemic
51 Sp1 Liliopsida Cyperaceae Herb Native
52 Tepualia stipularis (Hook. & Arn.) Griseb Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Tree Native
53 Tristerix corymbosus (L.) Kuijt Magnoliophyta Loranthaceae Shrub Native
54 Ugni molinae Turcz. Magnoliophyta Myrtaceae Shrub Native
55 Ulex europaeus L. Magnoliophyta Fabaceae Shrub Introduced
Figure 1.  

Species richness classified by number of families (top) and habit (bottom). In both figures, the species are arranged according to Phyllum, while in the upper figure, the geographical origin is also included.

Figure 2.  

Species richness sorted by host (left) and microhabitat (right).

Figure 3.  

Accidental epiphytes: A. Drimys winteri growing on the base of a Myrceugenia exsucca trunk; B. Drimys winteri growing on Cupressus macrocarpa main trunk crotch; C. Nertera granadensis growing on Cupressus macrocarpa main trunk crotch; D. Aristotelia chilensis growing on Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii main trunk crotch; E. Hieracium spp. growing on the base of a Myrceugenia exsucca trunk; F. Chusquea quila growing on the base of a Myrceugenia exsucca trunk; G. Ribes trilobum growing on Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii main trunk crotch; H. Lomatia ferruginea growing on Amomyrtus luma main trunk crotch.

Figure 4.  

Hemiparasites: A. Antidaphne punctulata growing on Myrceugenia exsucca; B. Antidaphne punctulata growing on Luma apiculata; C. Lepidoceras chilense, insertion point on an Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii branch; D. Lepidoceras chilense, leaf distribution; E. Notanthera heterophylla growing on Myrceugenia exsucca; F. Notanthera heterophylla, details leaves and fruits; G. Tristerix corymbosus growing on climber Cissus striata; H. Tristerix corymbosus, details leaves and flower.

Figure 5.  

Common tree/shrub species. Leaves and bark: A. Amomyrtus luma; B. Amomyrtus meli; C. Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii; D. Luma chequen; E. Myrceugenia exsucca; F. Myrceugenia parvifolia; G. Myrceugenia planipes; H. Tepualia stipularis. Leaves and fruits (berries): I. Rhamnus diffusus; J. Ugni molinae.

General description

Purpose: 

This contribution provides background information for biodiversity, meta-community or macro-ecological studies, as it also includes the geographical location of forest fragments. Some biodiversity traits have not been reported in literature, such as the recording of tree remains and accidental epiphytes. These data are expected to contribute to the local valuation and conservation of these highly-degraded ecosystems.

Project description

Study area description: 

The study area is located on the coast of the Araucanía Region of Chile (38°30′–39°30′S, 72°45′–73°30′W). It covers an area of 1656 km2, bounded by the Imperial River in the south and the Queule in the north and lying between the Coastal Range to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The climate is oceanic with a Mediterranean influence, with average annual precipitation of 1200–1600 mm (Luebert and Pliscoff 2006).

The territory is distributed amongst numerous indigenous Mapuche communities and private farming/forestry properties (Pincheira-Ulbrich 2018). The land is divided into small plots, with high poverty and rural dwelling, mostly unchanged since the middle of the 20th century (Gissi 2004, Peña-Cortés et al. 2020). As a result, the historical and current pressure on the forest has meant that most of its area is in a degraded state, set in a matrix of anthropogenic landscape (Peña-Cortés et al. 2011, Hauenstein et al. 2014, Peña-Cortés et al. 2020b). Therefore, the forest is a secondary ecosystem (diameter at breast height of trees x = 19 ± 11 cm), consisting mainly of native species of the Myrtaceae family (10 species).

Design description: 

The forest patches were grouped into five size classes: < 0.5 ha, 0.5–2 ha, 2–10 ha, 10–50 ha and > 50 ha. The seven largest fragments (> 50 ha) were chosen subjectively and six fragments were selected at random from each of the other classes, except the 0.5–2 ha class, which contained only five fragments. This produced a total of 30 sampling sites distributed over the whole study area (see Pincheira-Ulbrich et al. 2016). In the field, sampling design was non-random in order to include the largest possible variety of micro-habitats and rare species (Croft and Chow-Fraser 2009, Dieckman et al. 2007). Data were collected from 2011 to 2013, with 32 days spent in the field.

Sampling methods

Sampling description: 

Sampling followed a transect sampling observations protocol, orientated from the edge towards the centre of the fragment (Brower et al. 1990). Field notes and photographs, taken throughout the transect, were reviewed in the lab. Seven types of data were recorded: (i) Taxonomic identity, following the criteria established in the publications of Marticorena and Rodríguez (Marticorena and Rodríguez 2001, Marticorena and Rodríguez 2003, Marticorena and Rodríguez 2005, Marticorena and Rodríguez 2011), (ii) condition (coarse woody debris, fallen log, live, snag), according to Enrong et al. (2006), (iii) habit (herb, shrub, tree) according to Harris and Harris (2001), (iv) growth microhabitat (e.g. tree trunk, branch, main trunk crotch, fallen log soil) according to field observations, (v) growth form (accidental epiphyte, hemiparasite, terricolous, vegetative) according to Benzing (2008), (vi) host species (as appropriate) and (vii) relative location of the species in the sampled patch and surrounding areas (core, border, matrix). The taxonomic nomenclature was based on Rodríguez et al. (2018) and The International Plant Names Index (2019).

Geographic coverage

Description: 

The study area is located on the coast of the Araucanía Region of Chile (38°30′–39°30′S, 72°45′–73°30′W). It covers an area of 1656 km2, bounded by the Imperial River in the south and the Queule in the north and lying between the Coastal Range to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Coordinates: 

Imperial River and Tolten Rive Latitude; Pacific Ocean and Coastal mountain range. Longitude.

Traits coverage

Trees, shrubs, accidental epiphytes, host.

Temporal coverage

Notes: 

2011-2013

Usage licence

Usage licence: 
Creative Commons Public Domain Waiver (CC-Zero)

Data resources

Data package title: 
Trees, shrubs and herbs of the coastal Myrtaceae swamp forest in La Araucanía: a dataset
Number of data sets: 
1
Data set name: 
Trees, shrubs and herbs of the coastal Myrtaceae swamp forest in La Araucanía: a dataset
Data format: 
csv
Data format version: 
csv
Description: 

The dataset provides a record of 55 species (24 trees, 1 vine, 16 herbs, and 15 shrubs) including accidental epiphytes (n = 6), hemiparasites (n = 4), host (n = 11) and additionally woody debris (n = 36) in 356 records. The data describes (i) species composition, (ii) condition (coarse woody debris, fallen log, live, snag), (iii) habit (herb, shrub, tree), (iv) growth microhabitat (e.g. tree trunk, branch, main trunk crotch, fallen log, soil), (v) growth form (accidental epiphyte, hemiparasite, terricolous, vegetative), (vi) host species (as appropriate) and (vii) relative location of the species in the sampled patch and surrounding areas (core, border, matrix). Several of the biological backgrounds presented here have not been reported in literature, so the database is left available in this manuscript.

Column label Column description
Patch size (ha) Forest fragment size in hectares.
Latitude Geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface
Longuitude Geographic coordinate that specifies the east–west position of a point on the Earth's surface
ID Record number
Species Scientific name of species
Condition Living trees and tree debris. Coarse woody debris, Fallen log, Live, Snag
Habit Growth habit according to literature. Herb, Shrub, Tree, NA (Not applicable)
Microhabitat Site where the individual was observed growing. Base of trunk, Branch, Fallen log, Main trunk crotch, Soil, Stem, Trunk
Growth form Growth form observed in the field. Accidental ephyphyte, Hemiparasite, Terricolous, Vegetative, NA (Not applicable)
Host Scientific name of species.
Location1 Relative location 1 of the record in the field. Core, Core-Gap, Edge, Gap-Edge, Matrix.
CoordinateUncertaintyInMetres1 Horizontal distance (in metres) from the given decimal Latitude and decimal Longitude describing the smallest circle containing the whole of the Location.
Location2 Relative location 2 of the record in the field. Core, Core-Gap, Edge, Gap-Edge, Matrix, NA (Not applicable)
CoordinateUncertaintyInMetres2 Horizontal distance (in metres) from the given decimal Latitude and decimal Longitude describing the smallest circle containing the whole of the Location.
Location3 Relative location 3 of the record in the field. Core, Core-Gap, Edge, Gap-Edge, Matrix, NA (Not applicable)
CoordinateUncertaintyInMetres3 Horizontal distance (in metres) from the given decimal Latitude and decimal Longitude describing the smallest circle containing the whole of the Location.
Date Registration date.
Sampling protocol Field sampling protocol.
Observer name Name of person who collected data in the field.
Notes Other observations in the field, UD (Undefined)

Acknowledgements

Erwin Vázquez, Enrique Hauenstein, Ulises Sambrano, María Jesús Vargas, Martina Pincheira, Alvaro Montaña, Erna Chaparro, Elías Painevilo and Rodrigo Cid for their collaboration in the field. Enrique Hauenstein, Diego Alarcón, Liliana Casaa, Cristian Larsen, Jonathan Urrutia and the CONC Herbarium for their generous help in identifying rare species. To Robert Mesibov for his dedicated work reviewing the database. To the small landowners, administrators and estate owners for allowing us access to their farms. This work was supported by the “Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico” [FONDECYT] Project 1181954: “Escenarios participativos para el ordenamiento territorial: hacia la sustentabilidad del paisaje en las regiones de La Araucanía y Los Ríos”.

Author contributions

Jimmy Pincheira-Ulbrich: Conceptualisation, Application of method, Data analysis. Elías Andrade Mansilla: Data discussion, Investigation. Fernando Peña-Cortés: Visualisation, Reviewing and Editing. Cristián Vergara: Visualisation, Reviewing and Editing.

References

Supplementary material

Suppl. material 1: Trees, shrubs and herbs of the coastal Myrtaceae swamp forest in La Araucanía: a dataset 
Authors:  Jimmy Pincheira-Ulbrich, Elías Andrade Mansilla, Fernando Peña-Cortés, Cristian Vergara Fernández
Data type:  Occurrences
Brief description: 

The dataset provides a record of 55 species (24 trees, 1 vine, 16 herbs and 15 shrubs) including accidental epiphytes (n = 6), hemiparasites (n = 4), host (n = 11) and additionally woody debris (n = 36) in 357 records. The data describe (i) species composition, (ii) condition (coarse woody debris, fallen log, live, snag), (iii) habit (herb, shrub, tree), (iv) growth microhabitat (e.g. tree trunk, branch, main trunk crotch), (v) growth form (accidental epiphyte, hemiparasite, terricolous, vegetative), (vi) host species (as appropriate) and (vii) relative location of the species in the sampled patch and surrounding areas (core, border, matrix). Several of the biological backgrounds presented here have not been reported in literature, so the database is left available in this manuscript.