Disentangling the role of soil in structuring tropical tree communities at Tarap Hill Reserve of Bangladesh

Swapan Kumar Sarker, Sanjay Saha Sonet, Md Mohasinul Haque, Mahmuda Sharmin

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Tarap Hill Reserve, the largest upland reserve of Bangladesh, is situated along the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. It encompasses the last remaining patches of natural vegetation in the Northeastern Tarap Mountain System and harbors 87 % of the nationally declared red-listed vascular plant species. Despite requiring high conservation priority, this is one of the least studied reserves in the tropics. In this study, we collected vegetation and soil (eight variables) data from 68 sample plots. We identified the tree communities by cluster analysis and verified them using the multi-response permutation procedure and detrended correspondence analysis. Species richness, diversity, and compositional similarity between the communities were also estimated. In total, 116 tree species representing 69 genera were recorded within the four identified tree community types. Finally, canonical correspondence analysis with associated Monte Carlo permutation tests (499 permutations) was performed to explore the patterns of variation in tree species distribution explained by the soil variables. Soil phosphorus, organic matter content, and pH were most closely correlated with tree compositional variation. Thus, conservation strategies that take into account variations in these influential soil factors may aid in the conservation of trees in the reserve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-565
Number of pages13
JournalEcological Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CCA
  • Cluster analysis
  • DCA
  • MRPP
  • Tree communities
  • True alpha diversity
  • Unique species


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