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Revista Brasileira de Biologia

Print version ISSN 0034-7108


BAIDER, C.; TABARELLI, M.  and  MANTOVANI, W.. The soil seed bank of a tropical montane forest, Brazil. Rev. Bras. Biol. [online]. 1999, vol.59, n.2, pp.319-328. ISSN 0034-7108.

Soil seed bank of tropical forests is involved in the establishment of ecological groups and in woody species richness restoration during forest regeneration, after natural or antropic disturbances. In order to analyze the seed bank composition in a tropical montane forest, Southeastern Brazil, 57 soil samples were collected, inside a 2-hectare forest plot, representing 28,500 cm3 of collected soil. Along 17 months, 497 seeds germinated, 65% between 0 and 2.5 cm depth. They represented a density of 872 seeds/m2. The seed bank analyzed is characterized as having two components: one composed by 66 herbaceous taxa, belonging to families with high richness of pioneer species; and another composed by 19 pioneer shrub and tree species, most of them with diaspores shorter than 1 mm length. The results found in the study site suggest that in the Atlantic montane forest soil seed bank can be important for the establishment of woody species, which form ecological groups involved in forest regeneration, following slash-and-burn. After treefall gaps, seed bank is probably responsible for the establishment of Melastomataceae species, the richest and more abundant group of pioneer species sampled in gaps.

Keywords : soil seed bank; Atlantic forest; forest regeneration; pioneer species; Melastomataceae.

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