Brazilian Journal of Botany
On-line version ISSN 1806-9959
HIGUCHI, Pedro et al. Floristic composition and phytogeography of the tree component of Araucaria Forest fragments in southern Brazil. Braz. J. Bot. [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.2, pp. 145-157. ISSN 1806-9959. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1806-99592012000200004.
The present study examined the floristic composition of three fragments of Araucaria Forest (AF) in the Planalto Catarinense region of southern Brazil as well as the floristic contextualization of these areas in relation to other remnant AF sites. Three AF fragments at different altitudes were analyzed in the municipalities of Campos Novos, Lages, and Painel. Fifty 200 m2 plots were examined in each fragment and all of the trees with CBH (circumference at breast height) > 15.7 cm were identified. In order to floristically contextualize the study fragments, comparisons were made with other remnant AF sites by way of dendrograms and NMDS (Non-metric multidimensional scaling). Environmental and spatial variables were plotted on the diagram produced by the NMDS to evaluate their influence on the floristic patterns encountered. The forest fragments studied demonstrated high floristic heterogeneity, indicating that AFs cannot be considered homogeneous formations and they could be classified into 3 phytogeographical categories: i) high altitude areas influenced by cloud cover/fog, including the Painel region; ii) areas of lesser altitude and greater mean annual temperatures situated in the Paraná River basin, and iii) areas situated in the Paraná and Upper-Uruguay river basins and the smaller basins draining directly into the southern Atlantic, near Campos Novos and Lages. The environmental variables most highly correlated with species substitutions among the sites were altitude, mean annual temperature, and the mean temperature of the most humid trimester.
Keywords : Araucaria Forest; arboreal species; environmental variables.