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Novelties to the vascular Flora of the Ibitipoca Mountains, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Novidades para a Flora vascular da Serra do Ibitipoca, Minas Gerais, Brasil

Abstract

The Ibitipoca Mountains occur in southeastern Minas Gerais state, Southeast Brazil, and includes a mosaic of different vegetation types, as part of the Atlantic Forest domain. Such heterogeneity results in the occurrence of several ecotones in the region, considered essential buffer zones for maintaining biodiversity and structure among adjacent ecosystems. Given the importance of these environments for biodiversity conservation, floristic surveys are important to catalogue plant richness in natural areas, where species and landscapes have been destroyed, especially over the last decades. To contribute to increase the knowledge on the vascular Flora in the Ibitipoca Mountains, a floristic inventory was undertaken in private properties located in the boundaries of “Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca” (Ibitipoca State Park). Relevant findings of the present study include: characterization of the different vegetation types, 17 new records for the Flora of Minas Gerais, collection of 288 species never recorded in the state park (80% dissimilarity – especially due to the occurrence and size of different phytophysiognomies between these areas) and presence of 31 threatened species. In addition, discussions about conservation efforts and public policies are presented.

Keywords
Atlantic Forest; conservation; floristics; Ibitipoca State Park; new records

Resumo

A Serra do Ibitipoca ocorre no sudeste do estado de Minas Gerais, sudeste do Brasil, e inclui um mosaico de diferentes tipos de vegetação, como parte do domínio da Mata Atlântica. Tal heterogeneidade é resultado da ocorrência de diversos ecótonos na região, considerados áreas de amortecimento essenciais para manutenção da biodiversidade e estrutura de ecossistemas adjacentes. Dada a importância destes ambientes para conservação da biodiversidade, inventários florísticos são importantes para catalogar a riqueza de plantas em áreas naturais, onde espécies e paisagens têm sido destruídas, especialmente nas últimas décadas. Para contribuir com o aumento do conhecimento sobre a Flora vascular na Serra do Ibitipoca, um inventário florístico foi conduzido em áreas privadas adjacentes ao Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. As descobertas mais relevantes do presente estudo incluem: caracterização dos diferentes tipos de vegetação, 17 novos registros para a Flora de Minas Gerais, coleta de 288 espécies nunca registradas para o parque (80% de dissimilaridade – especialmente devido à ocorrência e tamanho de diferentes fitofisionomias entre as áreas) e presença de 31 espécies ameaçadas. Além disso, discussões sobre esforços para conservação e políticas públicas são apresentadas.

Palavras-chave
Mata Atlântica; Conservação; florística; Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca; novos registros

Introduction

Biodiversity role in sustaining the integrity of ecosystems, creating micro-climates for life to occur, protecting soils, regulating hydrological cycles and providing services to people is well known in the scientific community (Naeem et al., 1994NAEEM, S., THOMPSON, L.J., LAWLER, S.P., LAWTON, J.H. & WOODFIN, R.M. 1994. Declining biodiversity can alter the performance of ecosystems. Nature 368:734–737.; Myers, 1996MYERS, N. 1996. Environmental services of biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 93:2764–2769.; Balvanera et al., 2006BALVANERA, P., PFISTERER, A.B., BUCHMANN, N., HE J.-S., NAKASHIRUKA T., RAFFAELLI, D., SCHMID, B. 2006. Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning and services. Ecology Letters 9:1146–1156.). In this context, species inventories, i.e., the process of cataloging plant species in a given area, is significantly important for conservation of natural landscapes, especially nowadays as deforestation and extinction rates are increasing faster than man’s ability to name life organisms (Jayakumar et al., 2011JAYAKUMAR, S., KIM, S.S. & HEO, J. 2011. Floristic inventory and diversity assessment - a critical review. Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 1(3-4):151–168.; Mota et al., 2017MOTA, T.J.R.C., CARVALHO, F.A., IVANAUSKAS, N.M. & EISENLOHR, P.V. 2017. On the relevance of floristic and quantitative studies to the restoration of degraded areas: the case of the Atlantic Forest hotspot. AIMS Environmental Science 4(1):42–53.).

With more than 39,000 plant species, the Brazilian territory stands as the greatest country in terms of plant richness and includes high endemism levels (Forzza et al., 2012FORZZA, R.C., BAUMGRATZ, J.F.A., BICUDO, C.E.M., CANHOS, D.A.L., CARVALHO JR A.A., COELHO, M.A.N., COSTA, A.F., COSTA, D.P., HOPKINS, M.G., LEITMAN, P.M., LOHMANN, L.G., LUGHADHA, E.M., MAIA, L.C., MARTINELLI, G., MENEZES, M., MORIM, M.P., PEIXOTO, A.L., PIRANI, J.R., PRADO, J., QUEIROZ, L.P., SOUZA, S., SOUZA, V.C., STEHMANN, J.R., SYLVESTRE, L.S., WALTER, B.M.T. & ZAPPI, D. 2012. New Brazilian floristic list highlights conservation challenges. BioScience 62:39–45.; BFG, 2021BRAZIL FLORA GROUP (BFG). 2021. Brazilian Flora 2020: Leveraging the power of a collaborative scientific network. Taxon 71(1):178–198.; Flora e Funga do Brasil, 2024FLORA E FUNGA DO BRASIL. 2024. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Available at: http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/. Access: 8 April 2024.
http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/...
). In addition, Brazil includes six phytogeographic domains, two of which (Atlantic Forest and “Cerrado”) are considered hotspots for world conservation (Myers et al., 2000MYERS, N., MITTERMEIER, R.A., MITTERMEIER, C.G., FONSECA, G.A.B. & KENT, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858.). These domains are subdivided into several vegetation types, so most of their areas comprise a mosaic of phytophysiognomies (IBGE, 2012INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE GEOGRAFIA E ESTATÍSTICA (IBGE). 2012. Manual Técnico da Vegetação Brasileira. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 275.). Brazil has been a signatory of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC - cbd.int/gspc/targets.shtml) and concluded Target 1 aiming an online Flora for all-knowing plants (BFG, 2018BRAZIL FLORA GROUP (BFG). 2018. Brazilian Flora 2020: Innovation and collaboration to meet Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). Rodriguésia 69(4):1513–1527.; BFG, 2021BRAZIL FLORA GROUP (BFG). 2021. Brazilian Flora 2020: Leveraging the power of a collaborative scientific network. Taxon 71(1):178–198.). However, it has failed to protect its Flora and phytophysiognomies inside conservation units or through restoration projects (Mello et al., 2021MELLO, K., FENDRICH, A.N., SPAROVEK, G., SIMMONDS, J.S., MARON, M., TAVARES, P.A., BRITES, A.D., RODRIGUES, R.R., JOLY, C.A. & METZGER, J.P. 2021. Achieving private conservation targets in Brazil through restoration and compensation schemes without impairing productive lands. Environmental Science & Policy 120:1–10.).

Taking this context into account, conservation units are essential to guarantee preservation and restoration of plant biodiversity, enabling sustainability of ecosystems and thus providing ecological services to nature and people (Naughton-Treves et al., 2005NAUGHTON-TREVES, L., HOLLAND, M.B. & BRANDON, K. 2005. The role of protected areas in conserving biodiversity and sustaining local livelihoods. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 30:219–252.). As for plant composition, conservation units play an important role because, as a public policy, they determine areas where plant communities cannot be damaged, especially protecting endangered, rare and/or endemic species (Press et al., 1996PRESS, D., DOAK, D.F. & STEINBERG, P. 1996. The role of local government in the conservation of rare species. Conservation Biology 10(6):1538–1548.; Margules & Pressey, 2000MARGULES, C.R. & PRESSEY, R.L. 2000. Systematic conservation planning. Nature 405:243–253.; Fonseca & Venticinque, 2018FONSECA C.R. & VENTICINQUE, E.M. 2018. Biodiversity conservation gaps in Brazil: A role for systematic conservation planning. Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 16(2):61–67.). However, only 67% of threatened plant species have at least one record inside protected areas in Brazil (Ribeiro et al., 2018RIBEIRO, B.R., MARTINS, E., MARTINELLI, G. & LOYOLA, R. 2018. The effectiveness of protected areas and indigenous lands in representing threatened plant species in Brazil. Rodriguésia 69(4):1539–1546.), and predictions showed that most angiosperms and the great majority of endemic species do not occur in conservation units (Oliveira et al., 2017OLIVEIRA, U., SOARES-FILHO, B.S., PAGLIA, A.P., BRESCOVIT, A.D., CARVALHO, C.J.B., SILVA, D.P., REZENDE, D.T., LEITE, F.S.F., BATISTA, J.A.N., BARBOSA, J.P.P., STEHMANN, J.R., ASCHER, J.S., VASCONCELOS, M.F., MARCO, P., LÖWENBERG-NETO, P., FERRO, V.G. & SANTOS, A.J. 2017. Biodiversity conservation gaps in the Brazilian protected areas. Scientific Reports 7:9141.).

An interesting case concerns the vascular Flora of Ibitipoca State Park, located in the Ibitipoca Mountains, neighbor of the Mantiqueira mountain chains, southeastern Minas Gerais state, Brazil. About 1,230 vascular plant species, grouped into 526 genera and 127 families, were found in Ibitipoca State Park (Salino et al., 2013SALINO, A., ALMEIDA, T.E., MYNSSEN, C.M., CONDACK, J.P.S. & SYLVESTRE, L.S. 2013. Pteridófitas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 123–152.; Forzza et al., 2013aFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291.). Further, in the areas around the limits of this park (buffer zone), 519 vascular plant species were recorded, belonging to 300 genera and 105 families (Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.). The park is part of the Atlantic domain and is inserted in a matrix of Seasonal Semideciduous Forest. However, seven phytophysiognomies were there recognized, ranging from dense forests to shrubby savannas or cloud grasslands (Oliveira-Filho et al., 2013OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A.T., FONTES, M.A.L., VIANA, P.L., VALENTE, A.S.M., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & FERREIRA, F.M. 2013. O mosaico de fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 53–86.), so the region concerning the park and its buffer zone can be seen as an ecotone. Forzza et al. (2013a)FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291. pointed out that 48% of the species collected in the buffer zone were not found in the Ibitipoca park, suggesting that its limits should be expanded to guarantee full protection of its Flora, especially including rare or threatened species. The endemic taxa in the park correspond to 2% of its Flora, while threatened ones correspond to 6%, mainly Orchidaceae and Bromeliaceae (Forzza et al., 2013aFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291.). In addition, about 330 species from the park can be considered rare, as they were collected only once (Forzza et al., 2013aFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291.).

Ibitipoca State Park was founded in an area historically occupied by coffee cultivations, subsequently replaced by livestock during the XX century, which is the main land use nowadays in adjacent areas (IEF, 2007INSTITUTO ESTADUAL DE FLORESTAS (IEF). 2007. Plano de Manejo do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.). Also, this region is mountainous and dominated by hills with acuminate peaks, steep slopes and rocky outcrops, where agricultural productivity is low (Paula, 2022PAULA, B.A. 2022. Migração na zona da Mata Mineira no início do século XXI. Course Completion Work, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, pp. 50.).

This combination of factors leads to fragmentation of natural areas that surround the park and consequently compromises its biodiversity, structure and connectivity (Joly et al., 2014JOLY, C.A., METZGER, J.P. & TABARELLI, M. 2014. Experiences from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: ecological findings and conservation initiatives. New Phytologist 204:459–473.). This is the case on the surrounding areas of the Ibitipoca State Park, mostly formed by private properties, severely fragmented and dominated by livestock, although there have been recent attempts to restore vegetation by facilitating natural regeneration. Even though these sites are considered degraded, a mosaic of phytophysiognomies was observed in the limits around Ibitipoca park (Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.), so efforts towards its conservation and restoration could benefit the preservation and connectivity expansion of Ibitipoca State Park. In other words, areas that could function as additional buffer zones are actually found to be degraded (Almeida-Rocha & Peres, 2021ALMEIDA-ROCHA, A.M & PERES, C.A. 2021. Nominally protected buffer zones around tropical protected areas are as highly degraded as the wider unprotected countryside. Biological Conservation 256:109068.).

Considering the heterogeneous vegetation surrounding Ibitipoca State Park and its presumable influence on the conservation of this natural park, the present study aimed to catalog the vascular Flora in private properties around the park, to identify their phytophysiognomies and to compare the results with previous studies in the park (Forzza et al., 2013bFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013b. Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, 382 pp.), showing differences in species composition and vegetation structure. Analyses to compare richness between the park and adjacent areas were also applied, aiming to discuss the importance of expanding buffer zones in conservation units and to provide useful information for creating ecological corridors in Ibitipoca Mountains and adjacent areas.

Material and Methods

1. Study area

The study area corresponds to 19 collection points located in private properties among the municipalities of Bias Fortes, Lima Duarte and Santa Rita do Ibitipoca, southeastern Minas Gerais state, southeastern Brazil (Figure 1). This mountainous region has peaks ranging from 850 to 1784 meters from sea level (considering the extend of the study area). These mountains and cliffs present deep valleys which were carved as a result of the hydrography in the region (Nummer et al., 2012NUMMER, A.R., GARCIA, M.G.M., RODELA, L.G., OLIVEIRA, J.C.L. & BELCAVELO, R. 2012. Potencial Geoturístico do Parque Estadual da Serra do Ibitipoca, Sudeste do Estado de Minas Gerais. Anuário do Instituto de Geociências UFRJ 35(1): 112–122.).

Figure 1
Study area map, including collection points.

The landscape around Ibitipoca State Park is dominated by quartzite rocks and soils are mostly Oxisol and Cambisol derived from shales and gneisses, but sometimes intercalated with Neosol derived from quartzite or Neosol litholics (Rocha, 2013ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O meio físico da região de Ibitipoca: características e fragilidade. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 27–52.).

According to Rodela & Tarifa (2002)RODELA, L.A. & TARIFA, J.R. 2002. O clima da Serra do Ibitipoca, sudeste de Minas Gerais. GEOUSP – Espaço e Tempo 11:101–113., climate in the region is mesothermal highland tropical, with cold and dry winter season, and rains over the summer. During the rainy season, precipitation may be higher than 200 mm monthly from September to March, and lower than 100 mm in the months between April and August, with annual precipitation varying from 1562 to 2248 mm. Temperatures range from 12–15ºC from April to August and 18–22ºC from September to March (Rodela & Tarifa, 2002RODELA, L.A. & TARIFA, J.R. 2002. O clima da Serra do Ibitipoca, sudeste de Minas Gerais. GEOUSP – Espaço e Tempo 11:101–113.).

2. Plant collection

The first step before plant collection was, based on map areas and satellite images from surrounding areas of Ibitipoca State Park, recognizing different vegetation types to guarantee as much representativeness as possible. Therefore, expeditions were oriented based on these localities. After selecting the sampling sites, trails were chosen and opened based on preliminary visual evaluation in each collection point, aiming to include all different microenvironments, such as forest edges, underwood and vegetation near water courses, as well as considering different successional stages. After that, walks through these trails were undertaken, so plant specimens were collected. Plant sampling stopped when previously collected species started to repeat often. This procedure represents a standard approach of Taxonomists, although the methodology has never been discussed in the literature. Such approach is similar to what is proposed in Walter & Guarino (2006)WALTER, B.M.T. & GUARINO, E.S.G. 2006. Comparação do método de parcelas com o “levantamento rápido” para amostragem da vegetação arbórea do Cerrado sentido restrito. Acta Botanica Brasilica 20(2):285–297., but differs in not using time as a parameter to determine when sampling efforts ceased, and in not selecting random walks.

Species list was produced based on collected samples bearing reproductive structures of vascular plants, gathered from September 18th to 29th, 2022. Plants were collected and processed similarly to what is described in Fidalgo and Bononi (1989)FIDALGO, O. & BONONI, V.L.R. 1989 Técnica de coleta, preservação e herborização de material botânico. Série Documentos, São Paulo, pp. 62.. Specimens were incorporated in RB Herbarium, with duplicates sent to ESA and UEC (acronyms according to Thiers, 2023THIERS, B. 2022. [continuously updated] Index Herbariorum. A global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden’s Virtual Herbarium. http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/ih/ (Accessed 4 April 2023).
http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/ih/...
).

3. Plant identification and species list

Plants were identified based on morphological comparison with specimens deposited mainly in RB and other virtual herbaria (http://reflora.jbrj.gov.br/reflora/herbarioVirtual/). In addition, local floras (Forzza et al., 2013bFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013b. Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, 382 pp.) and specific literature for some of the taxonomic groups were consulted, especially descriptions and keys provided by Flora & Funga do Brasil (http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/reflora/listaBrasil/). In some taxonomic controversial cases, specialists were also consulted.

A species list for the vascular Flora was produced based on the reproductive plants collected during this work. Accepted species names were consulted in Flora & Funga do Brasil (http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/reflora/listaBrasil/), also used to access exclusive or new records to the Flora of Minas Gerais. Plant habits were classified according to Souza et al. (2013)SOUZA, V.C., FLORES, T.B. & LORENZI, H. 2013. Introdução à Botânica Morfologia. Plantarum, Nova Odessa, pp. 224.. Conservation status for each species was assessed in CNCFlora (2022)CENTRO NACIONAL DE CONSERVAÇÃO DA FLORA (CNCFlora). 2022. Lista Vermelha da flora brasileira. Available at: http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br/listavermelha. Access: 16 June 2022.
http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br...
and COPAM-MG (1997)CONSELHO ESTADUAL DE POLÍTICA AMBIENTAL, MINAS GERAIS (COPAM-MG). 1997. Aprova a lista das espécies ameaçadas de extinção da flora do Estado de Minas Gerais, Deliberação COPAM n. 85, de 21 de outubro de 1997, Belo Horizonte, MG. Available at: http://www.siam.mg.gov.br/sla/download.pdf?idNorma=5483. Access: 16 June 2022.
http://www.siam.mg.gov.br/sla/download.p...
.

4. Floristic similarities

Based on the floristic list provided by Salino et al. (2013)SALINO, A., ALMEIDA, T.E., MYNSSEN, C.M., CONDACK, J.P.S. & SYLVESTRE, L.S. 2013. Pteridófitas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 123–152. and Forzza et al. (2013a)FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291. for the vascular Flora of Ibitipoca State Park and by Valente et al. (2013)VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329. for the species included in the buffer zone of this park, similarity values were calculated to compare them with the list produced here. It is worth mentioning that the lists produced in 2013 have been taxonomically verified to accompany the most recent update of accepted species in Flora & Funga do Brasil (http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/reflora/listaBrasil/).

Jaccard similarity indexes for each of these three lists (State Park, its buffer zone and the present list) were calculated using R software version 4.1.3, function vegdist(), package vegan (Oksanen et al., 2022OKSANEN, J., SIMPSON, G.L., BLANCHET, F.G., KINDT, R., LEGENDRE, P., MINCHIN, P.R., O’HARA, R.B., SOLYMOS, P., STEVENS, M.H.H., WAGNER, E.S.H., BARBOUR, M., BEDWARD, M., BOLKER, B., BORCARD, D., CARVALHO, G., CHIRICO, M., CACERES, M., DURAND, S., EVANGELISTA, H.B.A., FITZJOHN, R., FRIENDLY, M., FURNEAUX, B., HANNIGAN, G., HILL, M.O., LAHTI, L., MCGLINN, D., OUELLETTE, M.-H., CUNHA, E.R., SMITH, T., STIER, A., BRAAK, C.J.F.T. & WEEDON, J. 2022. vegan: Community Ecology Package. R package version 2.6-4. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=vegan
http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=vegan...
). This approach was applied as the data was binary.

Results

Field expeditions allowed the recognition of five phytophysiognomies in the study area, mainly based on the categories of IBGE (2012)INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE GEOGRAFIA E ESTATÍSTICA (IBGE). 2012. Manual Técnico da Vegetação Brasileira. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 275., with some adjustments: “Campo Rupestre” (Savanna Park in IBGE, 2012INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE GEOGRAFIA E ESTATÍSTICA (IBGE). 2012. Manual Técnico da Vegetação Brasileira. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 275.; not presented in Oliveira-Filho et al., 2013OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A.T., FONTES, M.A.L., VIANA, P.L., VALENTE, A.S.M., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & FERREIRA, F.M. 2013. O mosaico de fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 53–86.), High-montane Dense Ombrophilous Forest (“Floresta nebular” or cloud forest in Oliveira-Filho et al., 2013OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A.T., FONTES, M.A.L., VIANA, P.L., VALENTE, A.S.M., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & FERREIRA, F.M. 2013. O mosaico de fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 53–86.), Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forest (“Floresta nebular” or cloud forest in Oliveira-Filho et al., 2013OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A.T., FONTES, M.A.L., VIANA, P.L., VALENTE, A.S.M., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & FERREIRA, F.M. 2013. O mosaico de fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 53–86.), Seasonal Semideciduous Forest (not presented in Oliveira-Filho et al., 2013OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A.T., FONTES, M.A.L., VIANA, P.L., VALENTE, A.S.M., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & FERREIRA, F.M. 2013. O mosaico de fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 53–86.), and Open Sandy Field with dominance of Eremanthus Less. (Asteraceae) (not presented in Oliveira-Filho et al., 2013OLIVEIRA-FILHO, A.T., FONTES, M.A.L., VIANA, P.L., VALENTE, A.S.M., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & FERREIRA, F.M. 2013. O mosaico de fitofisionomias do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 53–86.). This latter case is also not included in IBGE (2012)INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE GEOGRAFIA E ESTATÍSTICA (IBGE). 2012. Manual Técnico da Vegetação Brasileira. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 275. as it refers to a very specific and local condition, with no correspondence with the vegetations discussed in IBGE (2012)INSTITUTO BRASILEIRO DE GEOGRAFIA E ESTATÍSTICA (IBGE). 2012. Manual Técnico da Vegetação Brasileira. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 275.. Vegetation types recorded in this study are illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2
Phytophysiognomies recorded in the study area. A–Seasonal Semidecidous Forest; B–Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forest; C–High-montane Dense Ombrophilous Forest; D–“Campo Rupestre”; E-F–Open Sandy Field with dominance of Eremanthus.

The “Campo Rupestre” occurs in areas with quartzite rock outcrops and shallow sand deposits, where sometimes it is intercalated with open fields of Eremanthus, with altitudes varying from 1370 to 1495 meters. The vegetation comprises shrubs growing over the rocks or in deep cracks, and by an herbaceous layer. In this vegetation type, 149 species were recorded, belonging to 113 genera and 51 families (Table 1). The richest families within this vegetation were Asteraceae (17 species), Melastomataceae (14), Myrtaceae (9) and Rubiaceae (8).

Table 1
Vascular plant species recorded in the present study. (Shr = shrub; Tre = tree; Arb = arborescent herb; HeTe = terrestrial herb; HeEp = epiphyte herb; Par = parasite; Vin = vine/Cr = “Campo Rupestre”; Hdo = High-montane Dense Ombrophilous Forest; Mdo = Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forest; Osf = Open Sandy Field with dominance of Eremanthus Less. (Asteraceae); Ssf = Seasonal Semideciduous Forest/* = non-native species/Ꙩ = first record in Minas Gerais;◊ = exclusive species to Minas Gerais). Conservation status according to COPAM (1997) and CNCFlora (2022)CENTRO NACIONAL DE CONSERVAÇÃO DA FLORA (CNCFlora). 2022. Lista Vermelha da flora brasileira. Available at: http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br/listavermelha. Access: 16 June 2022.
http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br...
.

Dense Ombrophilous Forests in the study area are distributed in patches over the region, mostly in areas where humid winds meet the slopes, causing more precipitation. Such vegetations were called High-montane Dense Ombrophilous Forests when above 1400 meters elevation (altitudes in this study varying from 1450 to 1490 meters), and Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forests below 1400 meters elevation (altitudes in this study varying from 980 to 1220 meters). In these two phytophysiognomies, 219 species, 157 genera and 60 families were recorded (Table 1). The most representative families in this vegetation were Rubiaceae (18 species), Solanaceae (13), Melastomataceae (13), Asteraceae (13), Poaceae (12), Orchidaceae (12), Bromeliaceae (12) and Myrtaceae (10), representing 47% of the total species.

Seasonal Semideciduous Forests are the main vegetation matrix in the study area. However, it is fragmented across the landscape, varying from small and isolated fragments or more continuous ones, occurring predominantly on Latosols and Cambisols, with altitudes varying from 930 to 1278 meters. The structure of these fragments is associated with land use, so that some are represented by secondary forests dominated by pioneer species and sometimes with occurrence of invasive grasses, contrasting with more conserved ones, which exhibit multilayered forests with high canopy, in addition to a well-preserved understory and more presence of epiphytes. Within this vegetation type, different successional stages could be recognized. Typical secondary forests, i.e., still in the early stages of regeneration, were observed. In such sites, pioneer species were dominant and canopy formed a continuous and low stratum. In addition, understory was dense and mainly dominated by vines and invasive grasses, evident signs of forest degradation. The most recorded tree species in these regeneration sites were Athenaea cf. tomentosa and Solanum swartzianum (Solanaceae), Croton spp. (Euphorbiaceae), Luehea grandiflora (Malvaceae), Myrsine parvula (Primulaceae) and Schinus terebinthifolia (Anacardiaceae).

Some other areas of Seasonal Semideciduous Forests, on the other hand, can be seen as more conserved due to their multilayered canopy, usually up to 30 meters high, and by the presence of a few tree indicators, such as Aspidosperma australe (Apocynaceae), Callisthene major (Vochysisaceae), Cordia sellowiana (Boraginaceae), Ferdinandusa speciosa (Rubiaceae), Lamanonia ternata (Cunoniaceae), Tachigali friburgensis and Swartzia flaemingii (Fabaceae), and Virola bicuhyba (Myristicaceae). Euterpe edulis (Arecaceae), a palm tree characteristic of conserved forests in the Atlantic domain, which is currently a vulnerable species, was found in some of these fragments. Its presence attracts the attention of illegal palm collectors, representing a threat to local animals that feed themselves from the palm fruits.

Nearly 270 species were collected within the boundaries of this vegetation, belonging to 185 genera and 75 vascular plant families (Table 1). The most representative families include: Asteraceae and Rubiaceae (each with 21 species), Melastomataceae (18), Fabaceae (17), Poaceae (16), Piperaceae (10) and Cyperaceae and Orchidaceae with nine species each, all representing 44.8% of the number of species in this area.

Fields with prevalence of Eremanthus are regionally called “Candeal”, a reference to the common name of the latter genus, with shrubs and treelets that dominate these areas, especially growing on quartzite Neosols. Shrubs predominate in this vegetation, varying from one to three meters tall, while subshrubs and herbs occur more sparsely, with altitudes ranging from 840 to 930 meters. This phytophysiognomy included 35 collected species, mostly Asteraceae (4 species), Poaceae (4), Myrtaceae (3), Malpighiaceae (3), Rubiaceae (2), Polygalaceae (2), Fabaceae (2), Euphorbiaceae (2) and Eriocaulaceae (2) (Table 1). However, variations of the typical Candeal in these areas were identified, where vegetation cover is composed of a continuous canopy with trees up to 5 meters tall, primarily Myrtaceae species.

Considering all visited sites, approximately 915 plant specimens were collected in this work. From this total, 576 species and morphospecies were identified, belonging to 324 genera and 104 families (Table 1). Angiosperms accounted for 94.8% of the total species, followed by ferns and lycophytes (4.8%) and gymnosperms (0.3%).

The most representative families in terms of species richness are Asteraceae and Rubiaceae, each with 42 species, followed by Melastomataceae (37), Poaceae (35), Orchidaceae (32), Fabaceae (30), Myrtaceae (25), Solanaceae (18), Bromeliaceae (16) and Cyperaceae (16), adding up to 51% of the total number of species in the area (Figure 3). Miconia Ruiz & Pav. (16 species), Myrcia DC. (11), Solanum L. (9), Mikania Willd. (8), Leandra Raddi (7) and Piper L. (7) are the richest genera.

Figure 3
Number of species recorded for each family.

From the 576 plant species surveyed in this study, 31 (5.4%) are considered to be either vulnerable (VU), endangered (EN) or critically endangered (CR) (according to CNCFlora, 2022CENTRO NACIONAL DE CONSERVAÇÃO DA FLORA (CNCFlora). 2022. Lista Vermelha da flora brasileira. Available at: http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br/listavermelha. Access: 16 June 2022.
http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br...
; COPAM-MG, 1997CONSELHO ESTADUAL DE POLÍTICA AMBIENTAL, MINAS GERAIS (COPAM-MG). 1997. Aprova a lista das espécies ameaçadas de extinção da flora do Estado de Minas Gerais, Deliberação COPAM n. 85, de 21 de outubro de 1997, Belo Horizonte, MG. Available at: http://www.siam.mg.gov.br/sla/download.pdf?idNorma=5483. Access: 16 June 2022.
http://www.siam.mg.gov.br/sla/download.p...
) (Table 1), based on the categories of IUCN (2022)INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE (IUCN). 2022. Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 13. Prepared by the Standards and Petitions Subcommittee. Available at: http://nc.iucnredlist.org/redlist/content/attachment_files/RedListGuidelines.pdf. Access: 6 May 2022.
http://nc.iucnredlist.org/redlist/conten...
.

As for the life forms, 334 samples belonged to terrestrial herbs (36.4%), 213 to shrubs (23.2%), 178 to trees (19.4%), 106 to vines (11.6%), 72 to epiphytes (7.9%), eight to arborescent herbs (0.9%) and one species is hemiparasite (0.5%) (Figure 4).

Figure 4
Habits of plants recorded in the study.

Moreover, 17 species (2.95% of the total) were firstly recorded in the state of Minas Gerais, justifying the importance of this study. From this list, Chomelia sericea (Rubiaceae) was classified as a threatened species according to CNCFlora (2022)CENTRO NACIONAL DE CONSERVAÇÃO DA FLORA (CNCFlora). 2022. Lista Vermelha da flora brasileira. Available at: http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br/listavermelha. Access: 16 June 2022.
http://cncflora.jbrj.gov.br/portal/pt-br...
. Additionally, 20 species (3.4%) recorded in this study are exclusive to the state of Minas Gerais. Some of the species included in this study are illustrated in Figures 57.

Figure 5
Some species recorded in the study: A–Asplundia brachypus; B–Bidens squarrosa; C–Didymopanax angustissimus; D–Diplusodon virgatus.
Figure 6
Some species recorded in the study: A–Ferdinandusa speciosa; B–Heisteria silvianii; C–Inga sessilis; D–Manettia luteo-rubra.
Figure 7
Some species recorded in the study: A–Nectandra oppositifolia; B–Paepalanthus acuminatus; C–Solanum cernuum; D–Vriesea poenulata.

Jaccard similarity value between the list from the present study and the Ibitipoca State Park was 18.95%, indicating that 288 species recorded here have not been found in the park. As for the comparison between the present list and that from the buffer zone of the state park (provided in Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.), Jaccard similarity index was 17.11%, meaning 416 species found in the present list and not in the buffer zone. When the lists of the park and its buffer zone are compared, a 18.48% index was found. These values are represented in Figure 8, as well as the total number of species, genera and families for each area.

Figure 8
Floristic similarities discussed in the study: A–Venn Diagram showing similarity and dissimilarity (Jaccard index) among the list produced in this study compared to the list from Ibitipoca State Park (Salino et al., 2013SALINO, A., ALMEIDA, T.E., MYNSSEN, C.M., CONDACK, J.P.S. & SYLVESTRE, L.S. 2013. Pteridófitas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 123–152.; Forzza et al., 2013a)FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291. and its buffer zone (Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.); B–Comparing number of families, genera and species among the present list, Ibitipoca State Park (Salino et al., 2013SALINO, A., ALMEIDA, T.E., MYNSSEN, C.M., CONDACK, J.P.S. & SYLVESTRE, L.S. 2013. Pteridófitas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 123–152.; Forzza et al., 2013aFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291.) and its buffer zone (Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.).

Discussion

The surrounding areas of Ibitipoca State Park are inserted in the Atlantic Forest phytogeographic domain. These areas are considered a mosaic of different phytophysiognomies, mainly surrounded by Seasonal Semidecidous Forest, but also with open fields, “Campos Rupestres” and dense wet forests occurring sparsely. Such heterogeneity is a result of different abiotic factors driving landscape formation, such as soil type, rock deposition, slope and height of hills, and precipitation.

When this vegetational mosaic is observed from a landscape perspective, contact areas among different phytophysiognomies in Ibitipoca State Park and adjacent sites form different ecotones. Vegetation ecotones have been considered unique in terms of biodiversity composition, or even seen as local hotspots, normally with higher species richness indexes (Odum, 1971ODUM, E. P. 1971. Fundamentals of Ecology. Saunders, Philadelphia, pp. 574.; Kark, 2007KARK, S. 2007. Effects of ecotones on biodiversity. Encyclopedia of Biodiversity 3:142–148.; Czaja et al., 2021CZAJA, J., WILCZEC, Z. & CHMURA, D. 2021. Shaping the ecotone zone in forest communities that are adjacent to expressway roads. Forests 12(11):1490.). Therefore, considering that several vegetation types occur in the Ibitipoca Mountains – and consequently several ecotonal areas – the study area can be seen as important for biodiversity conversation in the region. Also, the occurrence of many different ecotones consequently results in the formation of contact zones, highly important to guarantee diversity of organisms among different phytophysiognomies, genetic bridge for gene flow, border protection for each associated ecosystem and speciation processes (Smith et al., 1997SMITH, T.B., WAYNE, R.K., GIRMAN, D.K. & BRUFORD, M.W. 1997. A role for ecotone for generating Rainforest biodiversity. Science 276:1855–1857.; Kark, 2007KARK, S. 2007. Effects of ecotones on biodiversity. Encyclopedia of Biodiversity 3:142–148.; Czaja et al., 2021CZAJA, J., WILCZEC, Z. & CHMURA, D. 2021. Shaping the ecotone zone in forest communities that are adjacent to expressway roads. Forests 12(11):1490.).

Fragments of Seasonal Semideciduous Forests were found with different conditions in terms of structure, varying from more or less degraded to conserved. This phytophysiognomie is one of the most degraded environments in Brazil and is normally more susceptible to deforestation due to its topography, usually occurring in flat landscapes, which is desirable for agriculture and urbanization (Durigan et al., 2000DURIGAN, G., FRANCO, G.A.D.C., SAITO, M. & BAITELLO, J.B. 2000. Estrutura e diversidade do componente arbóreo da floresta na Estação Ecológica dos Caetetus, Gália, SP. Revista Brasileira de Botânica 23(4):371–383.; Lopes et al., 2012LOPES, S. F., SCHIAVINI, I., VALE, V.S., PRADO JÚNIOR, J.A. & ARANTES, C.S. 2012. Historical review of studies in seasonal semideciduous forests in Brazil: a perspective for conservation. Brazilian Geographical Journal: Geosciences and Humanities research medium 2(1):21–40.; Souza et al., 2024SOUZA, D.C., SOUZA, L.R., COUTO, E.V., CAXAMBÚ, M.G. & PERON, A.P. 2024. Effect of slope on the forest structure of the Atlantic Forest domain in southern Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology 84:e258048.).

Dense Ombrophilous Forests, on the other hand, are here considered to be relatively more conserved, especially because they occur primarily on slope sites, where human activities are unfavorable (Ramalho Filho & Pereira, 1996RAMALHO FILHO, A. & PEREIRA, L.C. 1996. Avaliação da aptidão agrícola das terras do Brasil: potencial de terras e análise crítica dos principais métodos de avaliação. Embrapa, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 27.; Scheer & Mocochinski, 2009SCHEER, M.B. & MOCOCHINSKI, A.Y. 2009. Florística vascular da Floresta Ombrófila Densa Altomontana de quatro serras no Paraná. Biota Neotropica 9(2):51–69.). However, its vegetation structure is seen as more susceptible to erosion as soils in these fragments are shallow and precipitation rates are higher, demanding more attention to guarantee its protection (Roderjan, 1994RODERJAN, C.V. 1994. O gradiente da Floresta Ombrófila Densa Altomontana no morro Anhangava, Quatro-Barras, PR. Aspectos climáticos, pedológicos e fitossociológicos. PhD thesis. Universidade Federal do Paraná, pp. 119.; Blum, 2006BLUM, C.T. 2006. A Floresta Ombrófila Densa na Serra da Prata, Parque Nacional Saint-Hilaire/Lange, PR - caracterização florística, fitossociológica e ambiental de um gradientealtitudinal. Masters dissertation. Universidade Federal do Paraná, pp. 185.; Canestraro & Kersten, 2018CANESTRARO, B.K. & KERSTEN, R.A. 2018. The slope does not influence understory community on a Brazilian montane Atlantic Forest. Darwiniana 6(1):5–23.).

The incidence of pioneer Eremanthus species in the open fields with quartzite and sand might indicate a colonization process in the “Candeal”. Species of this genus are considered colonizers of open areas (Scolforo et al., 2002SCOLFORO, J.R.S., OLIVEIRA, A.D., DAVIDE, A.C., MELLO, J.M. & ACERBI JR, F.W. 2002. Manejo sustentável da candeia Eremanthus erythropappus e Eremanthus incanus. Relatório Técnico Científico. UFLA-FAEPE, Lavras, pp. 350.), so the more the succession progresses, the fewer individuals of Eremanthus will be present (CETEC, 1994CENTRO TECNOLÓGICO DE MINAS GERAIS (CETEC). 1994. Ecofisiologia da ‘candeia’. Fundação Centro Tecnológico de Minas Gerais (Relatório técnico), Belo Horizonte, pp. 104.). Eremanthus erythropappus, for example, has been indicated for use in areas under initial stages of regeneration, as the species grows quickly in shallow and poorly developed soils (Rizzini, 1979RIZZINI, C.T. 1979. Tratado de fitogeografia do Brasil. HUCITES, São Paulo, v. 2, pp. 374.).

Melinis minutiflora P.Beauv. (Poaceae) is an exotic and very invasive species (Martins et al., 2009MARTINS, C.R., HAY, J.D.V. & CARMONA, R. 2009. Potencial invasor de duas cultivares de Melinis minutiflora no cerrado brasileiro - características de sementes e estabelecimento de plântulas. Revista Árvore 33(4):713–722.) that dominates some of the areas in the “Candeal”. This species normally inhibits the establishment of native species as it grows extremely fast, avoiding native seeds and seedlings to germinate, as well as possibly producing allelopathic compounds (Hoffmann & Harisasan, 2008HOFFMANN, W.A. & HARIDASAN, M. 2008. The invasive grass, Melinis minutiflora, inhibits tree regeneration in a Neotropical savanna. Austral Ecology 33:29–36.). Therefore, conservation actions should consider partial removal of these individuals as they compete with native Flora and might become even more aggressive if not properly managed (Martins et al., 2011MARTINS, C.R., HAY, J.D.V., WALTER, B.M.T., PROENÇA, C.E.B. & VIVALDI, L.J. 2011. Impacto da invasão e do manejo do capim-gordura (Melinis minutiflora) sobre a riqueza e biomassa da flora nativa do Cerrado sentido restrito. Revista Brasileira de Botânica 34(1):73–90.; Ribeiro, 2016RIBEIRO, P.C.D. 2016. Efeitos da gramínea invasora Melinis minutiflora P. Beauv. Sobre a vegetação nativa e solo de Campo Rupestre do Parque Estadual da Serra do Rola Moça, Minas Gerais, Brasil. Masters dissertation. Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, pp. 80.).

Other species worth to be mentioned in the areas derived from quartzite and sand are two Eriocaulaceae, Comanthera caespitosa and C. nivea. These are species normally from of the “Campos Rupestres” (Echternacht & Parra, 2024ECHTERNACHT, L. & PARRA, L.R. 2024. Comanthera in Flora e Funga do Brasil. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Available at: <http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/FB116366>. Retrieved January 04, 2024.
http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/FB11636...
), indicating the influence of this vegetation on the landscape of Ibitipoca State Park and adjacent areas, drawing attention to its conservation in Minas Gerais.

Most specimens collected during this study were represented by terrestrial herbs. These plants were mainly recorded in open areas, like in “Campo Rupestre” or in open fields; however, the majority of them were found in Seasonal Semideciduous Forests, indicating high incidence of open areas in this phytophysiognomy, normally associated to degraded forests. Shrub was the second most collected plant life form, especially in Seasonal Semideciduous Forests, “Campo Rupestre” and Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forests. Trees were mainly recorded in forest environments, such as Seasonal Semideciduous Forests and Dense Ombrophilous Forests. Vines were by far most collected in Seasonal Semideciduous Forests, which is expected as the presence of climbing plants is more frequent in forests with more light availability, marked dry season and history of degradation (Santos et al., 2009SANTOS, K., KINOSHITA, L.S. & REZENDE, A.A. 2009. Species composition of climbers in seasonal semideciduous forest fragments of Southeastern Brazil. Biota Neotropica 9(4):175–188.). Considering the epiphytes, these plants were mostly found in forests environments, as they normally grow on tree trunks. Finally, the specimens collected as arborescent herbs include species of monocotyledonous (Arecaceae) or ferns (Blechnaceae and Cyatheaceae), all of which recorded in Seasonal Semideciduous Forests or Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forests.

From the 14 species listed as threatened in the present inventory, six of them were not recorded in Ibitipoca State Park (Forzza et al., 2013aFORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. 2013a. Fanerógamas do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca e suas relações florísticas com outras áreas com campo rupestre de Minas Gerais. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 153–291.): Aspilia reticulata and Mikania additicia (Asteraceae), Chomelia sericea (Rubiaceae), Chusquea attenuata (Poaceae), Hydrocotyle bradei (Araliaceae) and Virola bicuhyba (Myristicaceae). In addition, Asplundia brachypus (Cyclanthaceae) was collected during this study, a rare species whose individuals rely on conserved forests to guarantee their maintenance of natural habitats. When such aspects are analyzed in combination with the newly recorded species for Minas Gerais, there is an indicator that the current area of Ibitipoca State Park should be expanded to accommodate threatened and rare species, as some of those mentioned above.

This expectation becomes clearer as floristic similarity values showed more than 80% of dissimilarity between the species recorded in the present study compared to Ibitipoca State Park, including some rare, threatened and newly recorded species, as mentioned above. This implies that, from the 576 species collected in this study, 288 are not found in the limits of Ibitipoca State Park. It is interesting to note that most of these 288 species (145 species) were collected in Seasonal Semideciduous Forests, a phytophysiognomy absent in the park, which explains the high dissimilarity value. However, 137 out of these 288 species were collected in Dense Ombrophilous Forests (considering High-Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forests and Montane Dense Ombrophilous Forests), a vegetation type present in the Ibitipoca State Park (referred as “Floresta nebular” or cloud forest). This indicates that 137 species recorded in the present study are from similar environments of Ibitipoca State Park but do not occur in that park, reinforcing the idea that the Flora outside the park is important for its conservation. Finally, 36 of the dissimilar species from the present list compared to the park occur in “Campos Rupestres” and 33 occur in Open sandy fields.

About 83% of dissimilarity was found in comparing the park’s buffer zone with the list produced here. This shows that 416 from the 576 species recorded here occur in the study area but not in the buffer zone of Ibitipoca State Park. Similarly, most of these dissimilar species from this study occur in Dense Ombrophilous Forests (213) or Seasonal Semideciduous Forests (191), followed by “Campos Rupestres” (75) and Open sandy fields (44). Most part of the area from the buffer zone is occupied by Seasonal Semideciduous Forests (Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.) and the high dissimilarity value between these two sites, considering this phytophysiognomy, indicates that, although both areas have Seasonal Semideciduous Forests as the main vegetation matrix, many incongruent species can be found. Differently, only a small portion of the buffer zone belongs to Dense Ombrophilous Forests (Valente et al., 2013VALENTE, A.S.M., ARAÚJO, F.S., FONTES, M.A.L. & ROCHA, G.C. 2013. O entorno do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca: fitofisionomias e lista florística. In: FORZZA, R.C., MENINI NETO, L., SALIMENA, F.R.G. & ZAPPI, D. (Org.) Flora do Parque Estadual do Ibitipoca. Editora UFJF, Juiz de Fora, pp. 293–329.), but still a high dissimilarity value was found.

Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the park limits, as well as its buffer zone, alone are not sufficient to guarantee full protection of the regional Flora, so public policies are recommended to evaluate possible candidate areas that could serve, if not as part of the park, as a Private Natural Heritage Reserve, Legal Reserve or Wildlife Refuge, ensuring that most species from adjacent areas of the park are somehow protected. The value of private properties – when they become protected by law – for biodiversity conservation and the creation of these alternatives have been recently discussed in the literature (Rambaldi et al., 2005RAMBALDI, D.M., FERNANDES, R.V. & SCHMIDT, M.A.R. 2005. Private protected areas and their key role in the conservation of the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot, Brazil. Parks 15(2):30–38.; Silva et al., 2021SILVA, J.M.C., PINTO, L.P. & SCARANO, F.R. 2021. Toward integrating private conservation lands into national protected area systems: Lessons from a megadiversity country. Conservation Science and Practice 3(7):e433.; Marco et al., 2023MARCO JR, P.M., SOUZA, R.A., ANDRADE, A.F.A., VILLÉN-PÉREZ, S., NÓBREGA, C.C., CAMPELLO, L.M. & CALDAS, M. 2023. The value of private properties for the conservation of biodiversity in the Brazilian Cerrado. Science 380:298–301.).

Lastly, although the vegetation around Ibitipoca State Park is here seen as a potential buffer zone to be included within the limits of Ibitipoca State Park, it must be emphasized that many of its areas are more or less conserved depending on historical land use. Still, most of these sites present a high potential for natural regeneration, so conservation actions should include less intrusive restoration practices, such as removal of invasive grasses, isolation of areas invaded by cattle, containment of degraded slopes and enrichment plantings. If such management plans happen to work out, the functionality of fragments around Ibitipoca State Park could be reestablished, thus providing more structure, biodiversity and protection to the flora of this park.

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the following taxonomists who contributed during the plant identification process: Alexandre Medeiros, André Amorim, Claudenir Caires, Eduardo Lozano, Elsie Guimarães, Fabrício Meyer, Fátima Salimena, Fernanda Fraga, Gerson Romão, Guilherme Antar, Gustavo Shimizu, Herison Medeiros, Igor Azevedo, Inês Cordeiro, Julio Lombardi, Leandro Giacomin, Lucas Marinho, Marcelo Ferreira, Marcelo Monge, Marcelo Trovó, Maria Freitas, Mário Gomes, Paulo Labiak, Priscila Orlandini, Regina Shirasuna, Renato Goldenberg and Thiago Flores. The authors also acknowledge Renato Machado for supporting the field work. Finally, the authors thank some institutions for providing scholarships and other financial supports: FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) (process numbers 2018/18416-2; 2021/06436-1; 2022/01858-8; 2023/02443-9), CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) (process numbers 88887.342601/2019-00; 88887.371869/2019-00; 88887.603173/2021-00; 88887.666128/2022-00; 88887.666136/2022-00; 88887.666142/2022-00; 88887.671047/2022-0), CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) (process numbers 306152/2019-3; 142255/2020-3; 140509/2020-8; 303059/2020-6; 303699/2020-5; 140174/2021-4; 140715/2020-7; 315048/2021-2), FAPERJ (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) (process numbers E‐26/202.778/2018; E-26/200.380/2021) and SEEDF (Secretaria de Educação do Distrito Federal) (process number 00080-00228984/2019-11).

Data Availability

The data related to this publication are available at: https://data.scielo.org/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.48331/scielodata.BRVFWJ&version=DRAFT.

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Edited by

Associate Editor
Carmen Zickel

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    21 June 2024
  • Date of issue
    2024

History

  • Received
    24 Oct 2023
  • Accepted
    08 May 2024
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