The Amazon rain forest is one of the most diverse places on Earth, home to unknown thousands of species, including thousands of trees. Until now, scientists didn't know which trees dominated the forest and where different tree species were located. A new study published in the Oct. 17, 2013, issue of the journal Science examined an area of the Amazon and found that only a few dozen tree species are very common, or "hyperdominant."
French Guiana forest canopy
Canopy of a forest in French Guiana with Amazonian hyper-dominant tree species, including Symphonia globulifera, Euterpe edulis (small starlike crowns) and Mauritia flexuosa (large fan-shape leaves).
Los Amigos River and forests
Forests along the Los Amigos River in southeastern Peru.
Flooded Amazon forest
Seasonally flooded for est (igapo) alon g the Jau River in Jau National Pa rk (central Amazon), the second - largest forest reserve in South America, covering an area greater than 2.2 million hectares. Jau Nationa l Park has been declar ed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Evidence of higher water
High water in the low varzea forest along the Solimoes (Amazon) River, here dominated by Cecropia latiloba. The difference between high and low water is over 12m. The high water level can be seen on each of the trees.
A useful object
Trunk and part of the canopy of a Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) in central Amazonia. Brazil nut is one of several hyper-dominant species with a long history of human use.
Flowers of the hyper-dominant tree species Gustavia hexapetala in Brownsberg Nature Park, Suriname.
Counting the trees
Establishing tree plots in remote areas of the Amazon requires lodging in camps. This photo shows a forward camp used in 2004 to inventory trees in the Lely Mountains of Suriname. The camp was dubbed Komo-kondre after the covers of the hammocks, which are made out of Komo garbage bags.
Amana lake from above
Delta of Amana Lake near Tefe (state of Amazonas, Brazil).
Virola surinamensis fruit at Mamiraua Reserve. This species, a member of the Nutmeg family, is one of the hyper-dominant tree species in the Amazon.