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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versão impressa ISSN 1519-6984versão On-line ISSN 1678-4375

Resumo

AMORIM, P. K.  e  BATALHA, M. A.. Soil characteristics of a hyperseasonal cerrado compared to a seasonal cerrado and a floodplain grassland: implications for plant community structure. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2006, vol.66, n.2b, pp.661-670. ISSN 1519-6984.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-69842006000400010.

Savannas may be divided according to their seasonality into semi-seasonal, seasonal, hyperseasonal, or marshy savannas. Hyperseasonal savannas are characterized by the alternation of two contrasting stresses during each annual cycle, one induced by drought and fire and the other, by waterlogging. In South America, the largest savanna region is the Brazilian cerrado, in which there are few hyperseasonal areas that become waterlogged in the rainy season. The cerrado soils are generally well drained, but in central Brazil there is a small cerrado area in which the soil is poorly drained and which becomes waterlogged in the middle of the rainy season, allowing the appearance of a hyperseasonal cerrado. As long as soil is important in the ecology of the cerrado vegetation, we asked whether the waterlogging in this hyperseasonal cerrado implied that there were differences in soil characteristics in relation to a seasonal cerrado, which is not waterlogged in the rainy season, and to a floodplain grassland, which remains waterlogged throughout the year. In each environment, we randomly selected ten points, in which we collected soil samples in the mid-rainy season for chemical and granulometric analyses. For all variables, we found significant differences among the three environments, at least at one of the depths. Nevertheless, when we took into account all the variables together, we observed that the soils under the hyperseasonal and seasonal cerrados were similar and both were different to the soil under the floodplain grassland. The soil under the floodplain grassland was related to larger amounts of clay, silt, organic matter, phosphorus, aluminium, aluminium saturation, cation exchange capacity, and sum of bases, whereas soils under hyperseasonal and seasonal cerrados were related to higher pH values, base saturation, calcium, magnesium, and sand. As long as the soil under both cerrados was chemically and physically similar, the duration of waterlogging in the hyperseasonal cerrado is not long enough to alter its soil characteristics. Limitations to the plants growing on the hyperseasonal cerrado soil must be a consequence of the direct effects of flooding. Since cerrado plant species are dryland ones, the hypoxia caused by waterlogging may limit the number of cerrado species able to withstand these conditions.

Palavras-chave : central Brazil; cerrado; hyperseasonality; savanna; waterlogging.

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