Forest structure and species composition along a successional gradient of Lowland Atlantic Forest in Southern Brazil
Keywords:canopy, chronosequence, Restinga, understory
AbstractThe Lowland Forest is one of the most disturbed and fragile ecosystems in the Atlantic Forest biome, yet little is known regarding its successional trajectory and resilience. We evaluated changes in species assemblages and forest structure of the canopy and understory along a successional gradient (young 21-yrs old forest, immature 34-yrs old forest and late successional 59-yrs old forest) aiming to assess changes in species composition and successional trajectory of different strata of secondary forests. A 0.1 ha plot (ten 10x10 m sub-plots) from each forest stand was surveyed for trees and shrubs with a diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥ 4.8 cm (canopy) and for individuals with heights ≥ 1 m and DBH < 4.8 cm (understory). A total of 3,619 individuals from 82 plant species were sampled. The successional gradient was marked by a unidirectional increase in species richness and a bidirectional pattern of density changes (increasing from young to immature forest and decreasing from immature to late successional forest). Community assemblages were distinct in the three forests and two strata; indicator species were only weakly shared among stands. Thus, each successional forest and stratum was observed to be a unique plant community. Our results suggest slight predictability of community assemblages in secondary forests, but a relatively fast recovery of forest structure.
How to Cite
Marques, M. C., Zwiener, V. P., Ramos, F. M., Borgo, M., & Marques, R. (2014). Forest structure and species composition along a successional gradient of Lowland Atlantic Forest in Southern Brazil. Biota Neotropica, 14(3). Retrieved from //www.biotaneotropica.org.br/BN/article/view/1328