In the last decades, significant knowledge was generated on the restoration of tropical forest, much of it in the Atlantic Forest. However, we still have many fundamental knowledge questions to be answered about the restoration of degraded Atlantic Forest remnants. Shade intolerant lianas dominate disturbed forest communities, limiting trees recruitment and growth, and the restoration of degraded forests. Our objective in this proposal is to evaluate the competition and the water and light use strategies of hyperabudants shade intolerant lianas and pioneer trees of the Seasonally Dry Atlantic Forest, aiming to understand the mechanisms that determine the abundance of shade intolerant lianas in disturbed forest communities. To answer this question, we will perform a competition experiment under nursery conditions and collect several ecophysiological parameters in the field. We will grow hyperabundants lianas and pioneer trees in a nursery, under natural light and shadow treatments. Plants will be grown in pots with root and/or shoot split or not, in order to quantify plant growth and above and below-ground competition under two light conditions. Meanwhile, we will measure gas exchange and leaf water potential on these plants, during periods with and without water restriction. We will periodically collect leaf phenology data and measure parameters indicative of water use strategy (stomatal conductance and lead water potential) in lianas and pioneers trees in a degraded forest remnant located at Piracicaba-SP. The knowledge about adaptive strategies of hyperabundants lianas as well as about their above and below-ground competition with pioneer tree will be useful for the proposition of more efficient practices for the ecological restoration of degraded forests. In addition, this project will contribute for the consolidation of the restoration ecology of degraded forest fragments as a science as well as for the development of functional ecology as a research topic within restoration ecology.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: