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Phytogeography and Ecology of Scalesia (Compositae) Endemic to the Galapagos Islands

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Title: Phytogeography and Ecology of Scalesia (Compositae) Endemic to the Galapagos Islands
Authors: Itow, Syuzo
Issue Date: Jan 1995
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Itow S. 1995. Phytogeography and ecology of Scalesia (Compositae) endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Pac Sci 49(1): 17-30.
Abstract: Scalesia (Compositae), a genus endemic to the Galapagos Islands,
consists of 12 shrubby species distributed in the lowland dry zone and
three tree species found in the mid-elevation moist zone. They are completely
allopatric in distribution. All the species have herbaceous traits: fast growth,
soft wood, large pith at the center of trunk, and flowering within 1 yr after
germination (in greenhouse). The tree species Scalesia pedunculata Hook. f. is
shade-intolerant and heliophilous, and predominates as a monoculture in the
moist zone of the four larger high-elevation islands. In ecological succession, it
functions as pioneer, successor, and climax canopy plant. Even at climax or
maturity of this monodominant forest, the canopy is not accompanied by
young generations beneath owing to its shade-intolerance. The canopy population
of postmature forest dies back nearly synchronously. A new generation
then develops to build new forest. The progression from germination to maturity,
and further to senescence and die back, is a self-cyclic succession, without
change of dominant species. Over much of its range, S. pedunculata is endangered
by the effects of past agricultural exploitation or heavy browsing by
free-ranging goats, pigs, and donkeys; however, the population on the north
side of Isla Santa Cruz has been preserved in good condition in the Galapagos
National Park.
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 49, Number 1, 1995

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