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Revista Brasileira de Biologia
Print version ISSN 0034-7108
BAIDER, C.; TABARELLI, M. and MANTOVANI, W.. The soil seed bank during Atlantic Forest regeneration in Southeast Brazil. Rev. Bras. Biol. [online]. 2001, vol.61, n.1, pp. 35-44. ISSN 0034-7108. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-71082001000100006.
A survey was conducted to determine the density and species composition of viable seeds buried in four stands of a tropical montane forest at Parque Estadual Intervales, Brazil. The objective was to understand: (1) how numbers and composition of the soil seed bank change as the forest regrows, and (2) how such changes affect the species available for regeneration if forests of different ages are cut down. In each forest stand (5, 18, 27-yr-old and a mature forest), 57 soil samples were collected (0-2.5 and 2.5-5 cm deep). Viable seed density of herbaceous species ranged between 11,003 seeds. m-2 (5-yr-old vegetation) and 482 (mature forest), and between 25 (5-yr-old vegetation) and 389 seeds. m-2 (mature forest) for woody plant species in the 0-5 cm soil layer, suggesting a decrease in seed stocks in the course of forest regeneration. Seeds buried in the 0-2.5 cm soil layer represented between 56.9% and 67.4% of all viable seeds. Most of the viable seeds belonged to weeds of Asteraceae, Poaceae, Malvaceae and Solanaceae. The results provide evidence that, in forests of different ages, the soil does not store seeds of the same key ecological groups involved in the regeneration of Atlantic forest. Allochthonous seeds from remaining patches of forest, as well as their vertebrate dispersers, are needed for forest regeneration since the soil seed bank does not store large seeds of shade-tolerant species.
Keywords : Atlantic Forest; Brazil; forest regeneration; pioneer species; soil seed bank.