The aim of this study is to contribute to the knowledge of the epiphytic bryophyte vegetation of the Canary Islands. Especially the Canarian laurel forests are rich in epiphytic mosses and liverworts. The phytosociology and ecology of these organisms are fairly unknown. For first time the epiphytic bryophyte flora and vegetation was studied in respect to the microcli- mate and the different types of Canary forests along an altitudinal gradient. Based on a phy- tosociological analysis, the morphological and anatomical traits, the life strategies, and the phytogeographical relationships of the epiphytic taxa have been investigated.
The study area comprises the four western Canary Islands Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro.
The different methods applied in field and in laboratory are explained in chapter 3.
The synsystematic and syntaxonomic study reveals the ocurrence of eleven epiphytic bryophyte communities with several subassociations, which proved to be well differentiated by floristic composition, ecology, altitudinal zonation, forest formation and substrate specifity. 14 units are newly described.