Temporal changes in tree community structure and richness in a seasonally dry tropical forest in Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil

Santos, Paola F., Garcia, Paulo O., Santos, Rubens M., Morel, Jean D., Benicio, Matheus H.M., Apgaua, Deborah M.G., and Tng, David Y. P. (2017) Temporal changes in tree community structure and richness in a seasonally dry tropical forest in Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil. Bosque, 38 (3). pp. 535-543.

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Abstract

Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests (SDTF) are gaining recognition as a habitat of global conservation significance. However, these forests often occur on rich soils, and are therefore prone to disturbance by agricultural activities. Across their range, many SDTFs are in various stages of regeneration, although little is known about their regeneration dynamics and temporal change in general. To fill this knowledge gap, we studied the changes in species diversity and community structure of an SDTF tree community with a history of past selective logging located in northern Minas Gerais, Brazil. We hypothesized an increase in species diversity and biomass-related parameters, along with a reduction in stem density for the community after five years of regeneration. In 2005, we measured all trees (diameter >= 3.18 cm at 1.3 m) within twenty 20 x 20 m (400 m(2)) plots in the patch, and we remeasured the trees in 2010. Between the two censuses, we found no significant changes in species richness and diversity, suggesting that species accumulation had leveled out. However, we found significant gains in tree basal area and recruitment, suggesting continual regeneration. Diameter class distributions of the five most abundant tree species showed similar patterns. We conclude that past disturbances can have ongoing effects on SDTF vegetation, although inter-annual variations may also play a regulatory role on community dynamics.

Item ID: 51957
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0717-9200
Keywords: forest ecology, ecosystems dynamics, forest regeneration, remnant vegetation, tropical tree diversity
Funders: Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), Endeavour Foundation, Schlumberger Foundation
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 07:51
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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