Spatial patterns of species richness and phylogenetic diversity of woody plants in the neotropical savannas of Brazil
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Savanna woody plant communities are widespread in Brazil, where this vegetation type can be divided into core-central and marginal areas within its range of distribution. The study of diversity patterns of plant communities can provide insights into the distribution, biogeography, and diversity of plant species in widespread biomes. The objectives of this study were to measure standard and phylogenetic indices of diversity in woody plant communities of the savanna vegetation of Brazil (Cerrado) throughout its extensive range. Based on a metaanalysis, the diversity indexes were compared using traditional statistical methods, a phylogenetic approach, and by mapping. Similar patterns were found for phylogenetic and traditional indexes of diversity in core and marginal areas, suggesting that both lower and higher diversity sites can occur within the Cerrado geographical area. The only difference was found in low diversity, disjunct savanna sites within the Amazon basin, which are isolated by the Amazon River from the more continuous central-southern Cerrado area.