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The climbing flora of New Caledonia: a comprehensive checklist

Article; Early Access

Isnard, S; Bruy, D

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2023

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New Caledonia, an archipelago located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, hosts a rich and highly original vascular flora, distributed within a remarkable mosaic of habitats. Despite intensive research on the flora, the diversity and ecology of the climbing flora within the archipelago remain virtually unknown. More globally, while most liana studies have been carried out in continental forests, data from island ecosystems remain scarce. This study aims to document the taxonomic diversity, and to analyze the ecology and functional traits of angiosperms climbers in New Caledonia. Using herbarium data, exhaustive bibliographic review and field studies, we provide a checklist of 274 autochthonous climbing taxa, distributed in 45 families. The majority of climbing plant species in New Caledonia are woody, herbaceous vine being infrequent. Climbing plants account for similar to 8% of the native flora (angiosperms), a rather small contribution compared with continental tropical floras. There is, however, a great heterogeneity in the distribution of climbing plants within the different vegetation, as they represent up to 19% of species in the sclerophyll forests, and only similar to 8 and 6.5% in respectively shrublands (maquis) and rain forests, which are the most original ecosystems in New Caledonia. The endemicity is relatively low (64%) compared to the global flora (75% of endemism). Three endemic genera are exclusively climbers (Artia, Balgoya and Clematepistephium). The diversity of climbing plants is concentrated within few families: similar to 29% belonging to Apocynaceae and more than half of the species are included in just four families.

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