Riparian zones are dynamic areas adjacent to flowing freshwater that connect aquatic and terrestrial environments. We measured individual tree distances relative to two permanent streams in the Luquillo Forest Dynamics Plot, Puerto Rico, to determine if tree species exhibit distinct affinities for riparian zones in a mid-montane tropical forest. In addition, we also calculated stem density, species richness, and diversity indices in 20 x 20 m randomly selected quadrats at different distances from the streams. We found that no single species in the study site was predominantly associated with riparian zones; however, almost all species were represented by a few stems in close proximity to streams. Multivariate (Fuzzy Set Ordination) ordination of plot species composition in relation to distance to streams indicated that there is greater variation in species composition closer to streams, and less variation in species composition farther from streams. This study suggests that in mid-montane wet forest, riparian zones include all tree species found throughout the forest landscape.
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