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Posted Fri Oct 24 2008: from Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, via EurekAlert:
Diversity of trees in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest defies simple explanation
Trees in a hyper-diverse tropical rainforest interact with each other and their environment to create and maintain diversity, researchers report in the Oct. 24 issue of the journal Science.... It is difficult to determine the effects of climate change, habitat fragmentation and species extinctions on life's diversity without a coherent model of how communities are organized; but a unified theory of diversity patterns in ecological communities remains elusive. The most complex biological systems -- such as tropical rainforests -- are the most important testing grounds for theories that attempt to generalize across ecological communities; as they pose the greatest challenge. At Yasuni, in addition to the 600 species of birds and 170 of mammals, there are approximately 1,100 species of trees in the 25 hectare plot -- more than in all of the U.S. and Canada, combined.
[Read more stories about: ecosystem interrelationships, rain forest depletion, forests]

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The ApocaDocs say:
Let's hope we can figure it out before the Amazon has been turned into cattle ranches.

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