Plant and soil samples collected from four tropical forest areas were used to examine the correlation between the chemical abundances in soil and vegetation. On fertile soils in Panama and Colombia soil concentrations of copper, manganese, cobalt and zinc were correlated with plant concentrations. Calcium, caesium, iron, lead, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and strontium-concentrations were not correlated. Factor analysis of plant chemistry at nine sites showed very little commonality between sites, even of vegetation belonging to the same plant association. A copper, manganese, cobalt, zinc factor was not recognized except in one case. A similar study of plant soil correlation in Colombia supported the conclusions from Panama; for most elements there was little evidence for significant correlation between plant and soil concentrations.
Analysis of plant-soil relationships on very infertile latosols with terra firme forest in the Amazon at San Carlos de Rio Negro, Venezuela and Manaus, Brazil revealed a soil effect on the statistical distributions of the elements in the plant biomass. This effect was strongest on the least fertile site at Manaus and was strongest for essential elements. The pattern of chemical distributions appears to be due to the fact that some species are capable of concentrating high levels of elements even under conditions of very low supply in the substrate.