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Mortality and structural changes in a tree community in a semideciduous forest fragment

Grant number: 13/18104-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal researcher:Fernando Roberto Martins
Grantee:André Nunes Martinez
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The structure and size of a tree community may be influenced by biotic and abiotic factors. Disturbances may have great influence on community structure. In plant communities, the death of individuals is one of the most important forms of disturbance. Studying the mortality in a community can provide information on a wide variety of phenomena ranging from structure and composition to dynamics. Shallow soils may enhance the chances of a tree to dye by hampering the acquisition of water and nutrients for some species and thus contributing sinergically with mortality agents. We propose to investigate structural changes along time and the influence of soil depth on the chance of tree mortality in the tree community of the Mata Ribeirão Cachoeira, a fragment of Semideciduous Forest in Campinas municipality, São Paulo state. We will use a database consisting of two samples with ten-year gap between them. The data were collected in 100 random plots of 10 x 10 m each. Every individual with diameter at breast height DBH e 5 cm was identified, and its total height and DBH were recorded. Our goals are: (1) to describe the changes in the structure of a tree community over time and (2) to investigate the hypothesis that soil depth alters the chances of tree mortality. We raised the following questions: (1) Is it possible to identify changes in the structure of diameter and height of the tree community over 10 years? (2) Did the forest biomass remain stable over this time perido? (3) Tree individuals established in places with shallow soil are more likely to die than individuals established in deeper soil?

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