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Acta Botanica Brasilica
Print version ISSN 0102-3306
LIMA-RIBEIRO, Matheus de Souza. Edge effects on vegetation and population structure in Cerradão fragments of Southwest Goiás, Brazil. Acta Bot. Bras. [online]. 2008, vol.22, n.2, pp. 535-545. ISSN 0102-3306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-33062008000200020.
Edge effects are modifications in the physical, chemical and biological parameters observed in areas of contact of forest fragment with the surrounding environment. This paper aimed to test the hypothesis that the edge effects influence some vegetation and population parameters in Cerradão fragments in Caiapônia County, Goiás. To this effect, vegetation structure, Vernonia aurea Mart. ex DC. (Asteraceae) spatial distribution and microclimate conditions (air and soil temperature and air humidity) were analyzed in two habitats, edge and interior, of three Cerradão fragments with different areas (1.5 ha, 9 ha, and 35 ha). The results showed a strong influence of edge effects on all parameters analyzed, that is, vegetation structure, V. aurea aggregation index and microclimate parameters were all different between interior and edge habitats. These results corroborate other studies conducted in different ecosystems, indicating that habitat fragmentation modifies vegetation structure and composition, plant population dynamics and spatial structure, and as a result, local biological diversity is reduced.
Keywords : brazilian savanna; habitat fragmentation; edge effects; vegetation structure; spatial distribution.