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Brazilian Journal of Botany

Print version ISSN 0100-8404On-line version ISSN 1806-9959

Abstract

FONTOURA, Simone Benedet; GANADE, Gislene  and  LAROCCA, João. Changes in plant community diversity and composition across an edge between Araucaria forest and pasture in South Brazil. Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.1, pp.79-91. ISSN 0100-8404.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042006000100008.

This work investigated how richness, abundance, composition and structure of woody and herbaceous vegetation were altered by the proximity of an edge between Araucaria forest and pasture in South Brazil. Herbaceous and woody species including seedlings were surveyed in 42 plots of 5 × 5 m randomly placed at the following distances: 5 and 50 m from the edge into the pasture and 0, 25, 50, 100 and 250 m from the edge into the forest. There was a significant increase in vegetation cover, richness and abundance of woody species, woody seedlings and herbaceous plants at the edge (0 m). These variables, in general, decreased from 25 to 50 m from the edge into the forest in comparison to the forest interior. Few seedlings of woody plants were able to establish themselves in the pasture. There were continuous changes in species composition that occurred in the studied gradient due to the invasion of light-demanding species and the disappearance of some shade-tolerant species at the edge. In conclusion, the forest edge studied generated changes in the plant community that extended up to 50 m into the forest.

Keywords : edge effects; herbaceous vegetation; seedling diversity; tree species composition; woody plants richness.

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