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Title: Origin of Distylium Dry Forest and Occurrence of Endangered Species in the Bonin Islands 
Author: Shimizu, Yoshikazu
Date: 1992-04
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Shimizu Y. 1992. Origin of Distylium dry forest and occurrence of endangered species in the Bonin Islands. Pac Sci 46(2): 179-196.
Abstract: The Distylium dry forest is a low-stature forest or scrub, 0.5-8 m
high, growing in dry habitats with shallow soils in the Bonin Islands. The forest,
dominated by Distylium lepidotum, has the highest species diversity and
proportion of endemics of all vegetation types in the Bonins, and it includes
many endangered species. Distribution and species composition of the Distylium
dry forest and distribution patterns of 25 endangered species were studied in
Chichijima-retto, a cluster of islands in the Bonins. The relationship between the
distribution of forest and fog occurrence was investigated. Also analyzed were
damage caused by the severe drought in 1980 and the habitats of congeneric
species of the three islands at different altitudes. A hypothesis is proposed to
explain the origin of the Distylium dry forest and the occurrence of endangered
species: Distylium dry forest originated from a mesic forest similar to a cloud
forest when the Islands were once higher than they are at present; it has been
declining in area and species composition with the sinking of the Islands and the
tendency toward increasing aridity over time, producing many endangered
species. This trend has been accelerated by a rise of sea level of about 100 m
after the last Ice Age, during which the total area of the Islands decreased
to one-third of the former area.
ISSN: 0030-8870

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