Trees and environmental variables influence the natural regeneration of a seasonally dry tropical forest in Central Brazil

Daniel Magnabosco Marra, Christopher William Fagg, Benedito Alísio da Silva Pereira, Jeanine Maria Felfili

Abstract


Seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs) have high tree species richness and endemism, whose dynamics and succession depend on natural regeneration (NR). To test whether NR is influenced by the mature stratum and environmental variables, we compared structural and floristic patterns of mature trees [Mt (DBH ≥ 5 cm)] with the NR of a SDTF on limestone outcrops in Central Brazil. Additionally, we tested for effects of environmental variables on species abundance in these different strata. Within NR categories [JuvA (total height < 100 cm) and JuvB (total height ≥ 100 cm and DBH < 5 cm)], we recorded 597 individuals in 69 angiosperm species. Within NR and Mt we recorded 110 species distributed in 33 families, and 54 were common to both (~50% of total richness). Shannon diversity was 3.83, 3.13 and 3.33 for Mt, JuvA and JuvB, respectively. Besides the high number of exclusive species recorded in Mt (23), JuvA (18) and JuvB (24), comparisons indicated high floristic similarity (51%) between strata. Mt, JuvA and JuvB were influenced by different environmental variables, indicating that species requirements change along the establishment process. This highlights the importance of environmental variability for maintaining tree species diversity in SDTFs, and the importance of this remnant for the conservation of SDTFs in Central Brazil.

Keywords: Cafuringa, Cerrado, dry forest, forest succession, limestone outcrops, sapling.


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