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Núcleo de florestas tropicais sazonalmente secas do Cerrado : diversidade, fitogeografia, endemismo, fenologia foliar e os controles ambientais e espaciais

  • Haidar, Ricardo Flores
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2017
Repositório Institucional da Universidade de Brasília
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There is an interesting debate on the biogeographic trends and diversity of Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests (SDTF), located within the limits of the Cerrado biome. Influential studies have classified this forests as the largest remnant patches of the Neotropical SDTF dry diagonal, while other researches have taken them as incursions of neighboring biomes into the Cerrado. Another question that makes the classification of SDTFs in Cerrado confusing is the seasonal variability of leaf abscission (deciduousness), which is the primary criterion to characterize and map the Brazilian SDTFs and to indicate the photosynthetic capacity and vegetation structure. In the first chapter, we estimated the diversity (alpha and beta) and the environmental and spatial controls among 84 remnants of the Cerrado SDTF, setting up phytophysiognomy groups (PG) and their phytogeographic trends. We compared only forests situated on interfluvial or dry slopes, not influenced by water courses, from the core and marginal areas (transition with other biomes) of the Cerrado, which were locally designated as Dry Forests or Seasonally Deciduous and Semi-deciduous or Evergreen Forests. We identified eight phytophysiognomy groups defined by the variation in the structural and floristic composition of tree species along the remnants in the Cerrado’s nuclear area and boundaries with the Caatinga, Amazon and Atlantic Forest. The environmental variables structured in space and the isolated effects of environmental and spatial filters contributed to 27% of the variation on the tree vegetation composition and density. Soil nutrient availability was the strongest predictor of the tree species beta diversity, explaining twice as much as the effect of the mean annual precipitation. Three phytophysiognomy groups had indicator species whose distributions are centered on the Central Brazil, yet in the other groups, the indicator species are distributed across the Atlantic Forest, Caatinga and Amazon. We found eight endemic Cerrado species inhabiting only two groups on the Central Brazil. The species richness and the number of rare species are significantly higher in the boundaries between the Cerrado and the North Atlantic Forest block. Tree communities with higher ecological dominance are located in the Cerrado core area, the boundaries with Caatinga and the South Atlantic Forest block, where we detected the highest soil fertility and the lowest annual mean precipitation. In the second chapter, we analyzed the leaf phenological cycles of the remnants of SDTF derived from vegetation indexes obtained through GIS pipelines. We determined four phenological groups with trends that vary from deciduous to evergreen canopy species, as well as meaningful differences in the cycles of the remnants among the eight phytophysiognomy groups previously identified. The phenological metrics can be used to represent part of the variation of alpha and beta diversity , as well as the basal area, but not the tree relative abundances. The main predictors of the leaf deciduousness in the remnants were mean annual precipitation and soil fertility. However, canopy phenology of SDTFs in the boundary of Cerrado with the Atlantic Forest was related to decrease in mean monthly temperature at the dry season, while in all other groups, it was related to increase in temperature. Our results reinforce recent findings on the high beta diversity across remnants of SDTF in the Neotropical region, even though we limited the analysis to the central part of the “dry diagonal” in the Cerrado biome. Finally, we are elucidating phytogeographic patterns in a more refined scale to guide the elaboration of public policies focused on the conservation of SDTFs in the Cerrado. The consistent gradients within the phenological leaf cycles associated with the variability of the diversity and tree stature, indicate the potential use of vegetation indexes to subsidize better maps showing the SDTF’s distribution in the Cerrado and others remnants across the dry diagonal in the Neotropical region.

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