Palm (Arecaceae) Communities in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: a Phytosociological Study

ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to improve our understanding of the structure and composition of native palm communities in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. This study was carried out at “Parque Estadual da Serra Furada” (PAESF), a protected area located in southern state of Santa Catarina. A palm community survey was carried out in Dense Ombrophilous Forest in five 20 m × 100 m sampling units, totaling 1ha. All palm individuals were measured, totaling 11,183 plants, belonging to four genera and five species: Bactris setosa Mart., Euterpe edulis Mart., Geonoma gamiova Barb.Rodr., Geonoma schottiana Mart. and Syagrus romanzoffiana (Cham.) Glassman. Euterpe edulis was the most common species, contributing the most to all phytosociological parameters; however, relatively few large individuals were found. Our study demonstrates the limitations of traditional forest surveys that ignore smaller diameter palm species and highlights the importance of the role of this group in the floristic diversity, ecosystem function, environmental services and carbon dynamics.