Moss flora and vegetation of Saba and St. Eustatius (West Indies)
The known moss flora of the small West Indian island Saba (870 m in altitude) consists to date of48 species, while the neighbouring island St. Eustatius (600 m) has 40 species. The two islands have 27 species in common. Widely distributed neotropical species dominate at all elevations, while wide-tropical (i.e. pantropical) species are found mainly at middle elevations (300-600 m). Species with smaller geographical distributions (southern neotropical, Caribbean) are restricted to higher elevations (above 600 m).
An attempt has been made to determine the relation between mosses and the plant communities, encountered along the altitudinal gradient, by calculating “association values”, based on the results of random collecting. Four classes of association values have been distinguished: class A: very characteristic; class B: characteristic; class C: moderately characteristic; and class D: non-characteristic species. It appears that eight plant communities on both islands harbour one or more moderately to very characteristic species. Neckeropsis undulata is the only very characteristic species. It occurs in the evergreen seasonal forest on St. Eustatius. The results are compared with Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guyana and Suriname. Finally, a key to the species is included.