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Brazilian Journal of Botany

On-line version ISSN 1806-9959

Abstract

CUNHA, Denise de Andrade  and  FERREIRA, Leandro Valle. Impacts of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam construction on pioneer vegetation formations along the Xingu River, Pará State, Brazil. Braz. J. Bot. [online]. 2012, vol.35, n.2, pp. 159-167. ISSN 1806-9959.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-84042012000200005.

There is an important pioneer vegetation formation along the Xingu River in the area where the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam is being constructed that is highly adapted to a seasonally fluctuating water levels. The aim of this study was to examine the habitat and flora of the pioneer formations in the Belo Monte area. The area was divided in three sections for study purposes (Reservoir, Low Flow, and Control) that were expected to experience different degrees of impact from the dam project. The calculations of habitat losses were based on satellite imagery classifications, and a total of 111 plots were established in the three areas for vegetation sampling. Habitat losses of the pioneer formations will total 89.7% when the project is fully functional. Forty-five of the 72 recorded species are restricted to single areas. Species richness and diversity were significantly lower in the control area. The completion of the Belo Monte reservoir will result in habitat reductions and will consequently reduce the richness and diversity of pioneer formations. Studies suggest monitoring the populations located in the reduced flow area to determine possible impacts resulting from changes in the regional hydrological cycle caused by the Xingu River dam.

Keywords : diversity; habitat loss; low flow reservoir; richness.

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