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Brazilian Journal of Botany

On-line version ISSN 1806-9959

Abstract

REIS, Ana Maria S.; ARAUJO, Elcida L.; FERRAZ, Elba Maria N.  and  MOURA, Ariadne N.. Inter-annual variations in the floristic and population structure of an herbaceous community of "caatinga" vegetation in Pernambuco, Brazil. Rev. bras. Bot. [online]. 2006, vol.29, n.3, pp. 497-508. ISSN 1806-9959.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042006000300017.

The influence of climatic variations on the herbaceous component of the "caatinga" vegetation was examined in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. A total of 105 1 × 1 m-plots were established, of which 35 were in a level micro-habitat, 35 in a riparian micro-habitat, and 35 in a stony microhabitat. During two consecutive years all herbaceous plants in these plots were counted, measured (height and diameter), and collected for identification. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index and the equitability were calculated for each year, as well as the density, frequency, dominance, total basal area and importance index for each species. The total annual pluviometric was 819.5 and 448.8 mm in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The herbaceous flora in the study area was composed of 71 species, of which 58 were sampled in the plots. The families with the greatest species richness were Malvaceae (8 species), Euphorbiaceae (7), Poaceae (6), Convolvulaceae (4), Fabaceae (4), and Portulacaceae (4). The diversity indices were 2.66 and 3.01 nats ind-1 in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The density, frequency, dominance and importance value of herbaceous populations, as well as, the height and diameter of plants were low in the dryer year. The riparian group was the most isolated of the microhabitats examined, both in terms of its floristic and its population structure. Annual seasonal climatic variations greatly modified these populations structure during the course of this study, emphasizing the fact that long-term studies are needed in order to better understand the dynamics of the herbaceous component of the "caatinga" vegetation.

Keywords : caatinga; herbaceous component; phytosociology; seasonal climate changes; species richness.

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