What makes New Caledonian rainforests so different?

Rainforests in the Southwest Pacific can be highly diverse, even on a global scale, displaying higher species richness than African rainforests.

The biodiversity hotspot of New Caledonia is globally renowned for the diversity and endemism of its flora. Ibanez et al. compare the composition, the diversity and the structure of nine 1-ha plots of New Caledonian rainforests with fourteen 1-ha plots located across other tropical rainforests in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Location of the nine 1-ha plots in the North Province of New Caledonia (SW Pacific)
Location of the nine 1-ha plots in the North Province of New Caledonia (SW Pacific). Protected areas are ‘wilderness areas’ (IUCN category Ib). Am. = Amoss, Ao. = Aoupinié, Ar. = Arago, At. = Atéu, Bo. = Bouirou, F. P. = Forêt Plate, Ji. = Jiève, Gu. = La Guen and Ti. = Tiwaé.

This provides the first such overview for the Southwest Pacific region. Rainforests of this region are highly diverse, even on a global scale. High stem densities, endemism and abundance of tree ferns are characteristics of New Caledonian rainforests.

Reference List

Ibanez, T., Blanchard, E., Hequet, V., Keppel, G., Laidlaw, M., Pouteau, R., … Birnbaum, P. (2017). High endemism and stem density distinguish New Caledonian from other high-diversity rainforests in the Southwest Pacific. Annals of Botany, 121(1), 25–35. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx107