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Indicators to assess conservation status and restoration effectiveness in Cerrado open ecosystems

Grant number: 20/09257-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2020
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:Rafael Silva Oliveira
Grantee:Natashi Aparecida Lima Pilon
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/07773-1 - Restoring neo-tropical dry ecosystems - is plant functional composition the key to success?, AP.TEM


Tropical open ecosystems have been historically misunderstood as old-fields or as a result of forest degradation. This confusion has hindered conservation and management actions, frequently leading to suppression of native vegetation in favor of productive systems or afforestation. In Brazil, there is currently no scientific literature or even protocols to guide stakeholders and scientists in diagnosing the integrity or conservation value of grasslands and savanna remnants. Similarly, there are no clear indicators to guide restoration of this ecosystems and ways to attest the effectiveness of the implemented actions. Towards filling these gaps and increasing knowledge on the flora and ecology of open Cerrado ecosystems, this research aims at: (i) to select indicators and vegetation attributes which allows us to evaluate the conservation status of these ecosystems, as well to disentangle the differences between pristine and degraded areas, and (ii) to assess the effectiveness of current restoration techniques applied in Cerrado open ecosystems to recover their floristic diversity and functioning. In addition, this project will contribute with some objectives of the thematic project NERC-FAPESP (#19/07773-1). We hope to critically assess the role of the current restoration techniques in the recovery of taxonomic and functional diversity of the native vegetation, as well as to generate protocols and technical handbooks to help decision makers to identify well conserved open Cerrado vegetation. This evaluation has potential to guide the next researches on the topic, and also to optimize the resources allocation for most promising techniques and for areas where restoration interventions are really necessary.

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