ABSTRACT Litter production in forest ecosystems is a major indicator of primary productivity because litter helps incorporate carbon and nutrients from plants into the soil and is directly involved in plant-soil interactions. To our knowledge, few studies have investigated the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem processes in subtropical forest fragments. In this work, we determined forest structural parameters and assessed seasonal leaf litter input, leaf decomposition rate, litter quality and soil characteristics in two subtropical Atlantic Forest fragments. Litter production was greater in the native fragment with the higher species diversity (FN1). The two native fragments (FN1 and FN2) differed in basal area, volume and dominance in the upper stratum, which were positively correlated with litter production in FN1 but negatively correlated in FN2. Soil in FN1 exhibited higher contents of organic C, available phosphorus and exchangeable calcium, and the leaf litter had a higher C:N ratio. Although these results are consistent with a plant-soil feedback, which suggests the presence of a complementary effect, the dominance of certain families in subtropical forest fragments results in a selection effect on litter productivity and decomposition.
BACKGROUND: The vegetation structure and dynamics in subtropical forest fragments is influenced by the bamboo density. After the reproductive events followed by the death of the bamboos, is critical to understanding community structure and regeneration processes over time. The aim of this study was to evaluate temporally the influence of height and density of Merostachys multiramea on the richness, density and diversity of tree species after the event of bamboo dieback. The study was conducted in subtropical forest in southern Brazil, characterized by intense fragmentation of habitats, which facilitates the establishment of bamboo species RESULTS: We observed an increase in bamboo height over time, as well as an increase in the number of individuals between the fourth and sixth years of study. The number of M. multiramea individuals did not influence the density of regenerated individuals, but residuals analysis for estimated species richness showed the influence of bamboo on regeneration process. Six year after the bamboos death we observed a higher similarity in density of individuals between the sampling units CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrated distinct phytosociological structures during the different years of study, indicating that six years after the bamboos death, the vegetation structure has a higher similarity in the evaluated forest fragments in Southern Brazil, indicating a possible stabilization in the forest structure.
RESUMO O banco e chuva de sementes podem ser indicadores utilizados para avaliar o potencial de recuperação de uma área que sofre influência antrópica. Assim, os objetivos deste trabalho foram quantificar o número de sementes viáveis e estimar a diversidade de espécies do banco e chuva de sementes, a fim de conhecer o potencial de recuperação de uma área inserida em uma matriz agrícola. Foram instalados 40 coletores para avaliar a chuva de sementes, bem como coletadas amostras de solo, para caracterizar o banco de sementes. Na chuva de sementes, foram encontradas 2.079 sementes, pertencentes a 43 espécies, sendo as famílias Lauraceae e Fabaceae as mais representativas. No banco de sementes, germinaram 69 indivíduos pertencentes a 23 espécies, sendo a família Asteraceae a mais representativa. Observou-se elevada diversidade de espécies na chuva de sementes (H’= 2,34 nats ind-1), em que as sementes das espécies secundárias tardias foram as mais abundantes, enquanto no banco de sementes, as espécies pioneiras. Em conclusão, o fragmento florestal encontrava-se em estágio sucessional avançado, o que pode garantir estabilidade ao sistema diante da influência antrópica.
ABSTRACT The seed bank and seed rain can be used as indicators to evaluate the recovery potential of an anthropic area. Our aims were quantify the number of viable seeds and estimate species diversity of bank and seed rain to assess the recovery potential of an area surrounded by agriculture. We installed 40 collectors to evaluate seed rain and collected soil samples for seed bank quantifications. We found 2,079 seeds in seed rain, comprising 43 species, being Lauraceae and Fabaceae the most abundant families. Seed bank was represented by 69 seeds of 23 species, predominating Asteraceae family. We observed high species diversity in seed rain (H’= 2.34 nats ind-1). Secondary species predominated in seed rain, while pioneer species in seed bank. In conclusion, forested area is in an advanced successional stage indicating a potential capacity of system under anthropogenic pressures.