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Inventory of ferns and lycophytes within forest fragments of Araucaria in southern Brazil

Inventário de samambaias e licófitas em interiores de fragmentos de Floresta com Araucária no Sul do Brasil


The Araucaria Forest is a unique plant formation, practically restricted to the Atlantic Forest biome, in the South and Southeast of Brazil. It is immensely fragmented and its area is reduced to a minimum fraction, from 13 to 2% of the original area, due to intense anthropic exploitation. Our study evaluated the richness and floristic composition of ferns and lycophytes within three Araucaria forest fragments, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. For the floristic inventory, a parcel of 1 ha (100x100m) was demarcated inside three fragments, which were classified by size: large (246 ha - H1LF), medium (57 ha - H2MF) and small (5.2 ha - H3SF). Occurring species life forms and preferential substrates up to 4 meters above ground were recorded. In total, 55 species were catalogued, only two of which were lycophytes, distributed in 32 genera and 17 families. Considering the area of fragments, the recorded species richness has decreased, presenting greater numbers in H1LF (48), followed by H2MF (33), and H3SF (29). In the three sites, terrestrial substrate and the hemicryptophyte species life form predominated. We observed that one hectare of a larger forest fragment presented 65% more species than that of a smaller one, considering that the smaller fragment total area represents only 2% of the larger forest's area. On the other hand, one hectare of the smaller fragment contributed 17% to fern and lycophyte species conservation occurring in Brazilian Araucaria Forests, and 8% to the state of Rio Grande do Sul's total richness. The diverse heterogeneity and species composition grants floristic identity to each of the studied forest interiors. Our results highlight the need to include the botanical parameters here analyzed in management, conservation degree evaluation, and maintenance of Araucaria Forests plant biodiversity.

Mixed Ombrophilous Forest; fragmentation; seedless vascular plants; floristic inventory

Instituto Virtual da Biodiversidade | BIOTA - FAPESP Departamento de Biologia Vegetal - Instituto de Biologia, UNICAMP CP 6109, 13083-970 - Campinas/SP, Tel.: (+55 19) 3521-6166, Fax: (+55 19) 3521-6168 - Campinas - SP - Brazil