On-line version ISSN 1676-0603
ASSIS, Marco Antonio et al. Restinga and Lowland forests in coastal plain of southeastern Brazil: vegetation and environmental heterogeneity. Biota Neotrop. [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.2, pp. 103-121. ISSN 1676-0603. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1676-06032011000200012.
It was evaluated the floristic similarity between two Atlantic Rainforest physiognomies in Brazilian coast area, herein called Restinga and Lowland forests. The hypothesis was that, due the differences in geomorphologic processes, these forests would differ on soil physical and chemical properties, floristic composition, live above-ground biomass and litterfall production. It was sampled 1 ha (100 × 100 m) for each site located in Ubatuba, São Paulo state, SE Brazil. Within each hectare it was recorded trees with DBH > 4.8 cm in all 10 × 10 m contiguous plots, and collected soil and litterfall samples. The cluster and ordination analyses indicated the two communities as distinct groups considering soil and floristic composition, agreeing with the initial hypothesis. Species diversity was higher (p < 0.0001) in the Lowland forest (H' = 4.00 nats.individual-1) than in the Restinga (H' = 3.38 nats.individual-1). However, litterfall production and biomass did not differ (p > 0.05) between the two forests. This apparent paradox could be explained assuming that, since different species establish themselves in the Restinga or Lowland forests and find a favorable spectrum of conditions and resources, they would tend to persist and to develop in that place; even so the edaphic conditions differ between the Restinga and Lowland forests, each species could respond in a particular way to these variations, and then both forests could reach similar values of biomass and litterfall production. It is probable that the environmental filter conditioned by soils has being important for the strong floristic segregation between these two forests.
Keywords : atlantic forest; biomass; litterfall; multivariate analysis.