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Grasslands in the State of São Paulo: diagnosis, management and conservation

Grant number: 20/01378-0
Support type:BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants
Duration: February 01, 2022 - January 31, 2027
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal researcher:Giselda Durigan
Grantee:Giselda Durigan
Home Institution: Instituto de Pesquisas Ambientais (IPA). Secretaria do Meio Ambiente (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Alan Neil Andersen ; Alessandra Tomaselli Fidelis ; Alexsander Zamorano Antunes ; Ana Paula Carmignotto ; Arno Fritz das Neves Brandes ; Cassia Beatriz Rodrigues Munhoz ; Cíntia Kameyama ; Clayton Alcarde Alvares ; Caroline Lehmann ; Gerhard Ernst Overbeck ; Ingrid Koch ; João Batista Baitello ; Joseph William Veldman ; Leonardo Dias Meireles ; Marcio Roberto Costa Martins ; Marcio Rossi ; Marco Aurélio Nalon ; Mario Tommasiello Filho ; Natalia Macedo Ivanauskas ; Patrícia Anselmo Duffles Teixeira ; Paula Felício Drummond de Castro ; Rodolfo Cesar Real de Abreu ; Vinicius Castro Souza ; William Arthur Hoffmann

Abstract

Tropical grasslands are poorly understood in different regions of the world, often seen as a result of forest degradation, as they often occur in climate and soil conditions that would support arboreal vegetation, characterizing alternative stable states. Natural grasslands in the tropics are not even mapped as native vegetation, their importance has not been recognized, their biodiversity is not known and the factors maintaining them are not understood. This project aims to fill most of the knowledge gaps related to grasslands, focusing on the state of SP, but inserting them in the context of all tropical grasslands in Brazil. The remaining areas of natural grasslands in the state will be mapped, and the different grassland-types will be characterized by their biomass, plant and animal (birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals) species composition and environmental factors (relief, soil and climate) and disturbance (fire and grazing history) which modulated them. Additionally, techniques of dendrochronology applied to small plants (herbchronology) will be experimented to determine the age of natural grasslands. All these elements will increase the knowledge on grasslands biogeography. We will also investigate the phylogenetic relationship among different types of grasslands, to understand the spatial variation of their biodiversity (plants and animals) at different scales and the conditioning factors modulating them. Additionally, we aim to indicate threatened species and ecosystems, as well as priority areas and strategies for their conservation. In protected areas, historical images of the last decades will be analysed to characterize the dynamics of expansion and retraction of grasslands and neighbouring forest formations. Additionally, experiments will be carried out aiming at restoration and management for conservation of these ecosystems. With this broad research project, we hope to considerably enlarge the knowledge about grasslands and thus strengthen the foundations of public policies aiming at their conservation in the state of SP. (AU)

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