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      Effects of climate and forest structure on palms, bromeliads and bamboos in Atlantic Forest fragments of Northeastern Brazil Translated title: Efeitos do clima e da estrutura da vegetação em palmeiras, bromélias e bambus em fragmentos de Mata Atlântica no nordeste brasileiro


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          Abstract Palms, bromeliads and bamboos are key elements of tropical forests and understanding the effects of climate, anthropogenic pressure and forest structure on these groups is crucial to forecast structural changes in tropical forests. Therefore, we investigated the effects of these factors on the abundance of these groups in 22 Atlantic forest fragments of Northeastern Brazil. Abundance of bromeliads and bamboos were assessed through indexes. Palms were counted within a radius of 20 m. We also obtained measures of vegetation structure, fragment size, annual precipitation, precipitation seasonality and human population density. We tested the effects of these predictors on plant groups using path analysis. Palm abundance was higher in taller forests with larger trees, closed canopy and sparse understory, which may be a result of the presence of seed dispersers and specific attributes of local palm species. Bromeliads were negatively affected by both annual precipitation and precipitation seasonality, what may reflect adaptations of these plants to use water efficiently, but also the need to capture water in a regular basis. Bamboos were not related to any predictor variable. As climate and forest structure affected the abundance of bromeliads and palms, human-induced climatic changes and disturbances in forest structure may modify the abundance of these groups. In addition, soil properties and direct measurements of human disturbance should be used in future studies in order to improve the predictability of models about plant groups in Northeastern Atlantic Forest.

          Translated abstract

          Resumo Palmeiras, bromélias e bambus são importantes elementos das florestas tropicais e, entender os efeitos do clima, pressão antrópica e estrutura da floresta nesses grupos é crucial para prever alterações estruturais em florestas tropicais. Portanto, nós investigamos os efeitos desses fatores na abundância desses grupos vegetais em 22 fragmentos de Mata Atlântica no nordeste brasileiro. Abundâncias de bromélias e bambus foram registradas através de índices. Palmeiras foram contadas em um raio de 20 m. Nós também obtemos medidas da estrutura da vegetação, tamanho de fragmento, precipitação anual, sazonalidade na precipitação e densidade populacional humana. Nós testamos os efeitos desses preditores nos grupos vegetais através de análises de caminhos. A abundância de palmeiras foi maior em florestas mais altas, com árvores mais grossas, dossel fechado e sub-bosque aberto, o que deve refletir a presença de dispersores de sementes e atributos específicos das espécies de palmeiras locais. Bromélias foram negativamente afetadas pela precipitação anual e pela sazonalidade na precipitação, o que deve refletir adaptações dessas plantas para o uso eficiente da água, mas também a necessidade de captar água regularmente. Bambus não estiveram relacionados com nenhum dos preditores avaliados. Dado que clima e estrutura florestal afetaram a abundância de bromélias e palmeiras, as mudanças climáticas e distúrbios na estrutura das matas causados por ações antrópicas podem alterar a abundância desses grupos. Adicionalmente, propriedades do solo e medidas diretas de distúrbios antrópicos devem ser usadas em estudos futuros para melhorar o poder preditivo dos modelos sobre a abundância de plantas na Mata Atlântica do nordeste brasileiro.

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            Severe drought episodes such as those associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events influence large areas of tropical forest and may become more frequent in the future. One of the most important forest responses to severe drought is tree mortality, which alters forest structure, composition, carbon content, and flammability, and which varies widely. This study tests the hypothesis that tree mortality increases abruptly during drought episodes when plant-available soil water (PAW) declines below a critical minimum threshold. It also examines the effect of tree size, plant life form (palm, liana, tree) and potential canopy position (understory, midcanopy, overstory) on drought-induced plant mortality. A severe, four-year drought episode was simulated by excluding 60% of incoming throughfall during each wet season using plastic panels installed in the understory of a 1-ha forest treatment plot, while a 1-ha control plot received normal rainfall. After 3.2 years, the treatment resulted in a 38% increase in mortality rates across all stems >2 cm dbh. Mortality rates increased 4.5-fold among large trees (>30 cm dbh) and twofold among medium trees (10-30 cm dbh) in response to the treatment, whereas the smallest stems were less responsive. Recruitment rates did not compensate for the elevated mortality of larger-diameter stems in the treatment plot. Overall, lianas proved more susceptible to drought-induced mortality than trees or palms, and potential overstory tree species were more vulnerable than midcanopy and understory species. Large stems contributed to 90% of the pretreatment live aboveground biomass in both plots. Large-tree mortality resulting from the treatment generated 3.4 times more dead biomass than the control plot. The dramatic mortality response suggests significant, adverse impacts on the global carbon cycle if climatic changes follow current trends.
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                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Brazilian Journal of Biology
                Braz. J. Biol.
                Instituto Internacional de Ecologia
                December 2016
                : 76
                : 4
                : 834-844
                [1 ] Universidade Federal da Paraíba Brazil
                [2 ] Universidade Federal do Amapá Brazil

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


                SciELO Brazil

                Self URI (journal page): http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=1519-6984&lng=en

                General life sciences
                Arecaceae,Bambusoideae,Bromeliaceae,distúrbios,precipitação,fragmentos de mata secundária,disturbance,rainfall,secondary forest fragments


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