Despite being prominent in flora, the region of the Parque Estadual do Espinilho located in the Pampas of southern Brazil, where dense herbaceous stratum and isolated trees make this region suitable for livestock farming, has received little attention. The objective of the study was to analyze floristic and edaphic changes imposed by livestock farming in two areas of the park, the first under livestock grazing and the second protected from grazing (livestock-excluded) for five years. We evaluated soil physical properties of and the herbaceous aboveground biomass in order to investigate relationships with key regenerating tree species. A sampling unit of 2ha was installed in both areas, each composed of 200 subunits. Inventory of regenerating trees and herbaceous aboveground biomass, soil sampling, and soil penetration resistance tests were done in 50 subunits. The results, which were evaluated by Student’s t-test, exhibited variations between the two areas in regards to floristic and environmental factors. The abundance of the P. affinis and V. caven species and the variables of soil penetration resistance, soil bulk density, gravimetric moisture and herbaceous aboveground biomass differ significantly between the two areas. Principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) allows to infer that variables such as soil bulk density, penetration resistance and the abundance of V. caven species exhibit higher values in the area under gazing, while gravimetric moisture, aboveground biomass and abundance of P. affinis are higher in the area under livestock-excluded, showing that significant changes occur over just five years of livestock-excluded from the area.
Parque do Espinilho; Natural regeneration; Livestock farming