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Characterization of the regeneration strategies in Cerrado wet grasslands as a subsidy to restore fire resilient communities

Grant number: 21/02116-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Acordo de Cooperação: NERC, UKRI
Principal Investigator:Rafael Silva Oliveira
Grantee:Maria Júlia de Oliveira Alves da Silva
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 restoration will be achievable only after a deep understanding of its ecology and vegetation attributes that keep them resilient after natural and anthropogenic disturbances. These ecosystems are adapted and dependent on fire, displaying a number of traits to quickly regenerate after fire passage. These traits are crucial to keep positive feedback among fire, vegetation structure and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, it is expected that an area under restoration shows at least part of these vegetation traits. It is well known that dry grasslands and savannas in Cerrado have as a main regeneration strategy the resprout and vegetative expansion, being a key function group, which should be reintroduced in areas under restoration. However, the literature is scarce for Cerrado wet grasslands, vegetation of extreme importance for the maintenance of ecosystem services, such as water production and soil carbon stock. In this way, we aim to evaluate how prescribed burns in different seasons affect the relative abundance of post-fire recovery strategies in Cerrado wet grasslands. Specifically, we intend to test the following hypothesis: (I) The functional and taxonomic composition in communities burned at different season will be different when compared with each other and with unburned communities and (II) The regeneration strategies of the plant community after burning will differ when fire is applied at different times of the year. To do so, we will settle plots and apply prescribed burns (I) in the middle of the rainy season, (II) at the beginning and (III) middle of the dry season. In addition, control plots will be installed to monitor and characterize the community in absence of fire. In each plot, all species will be identified and its abundance registered. Furthermore, functional attributes related to the regeneration capacity will be observed in the field and will also be classified based on the literature. We hope that the sampled communities present different recovery strategies in front of the different burning seasons, and that these strategies will result in floristic and functionally dissimilar communities. The results of this project will contribute to inform fire management, in addition to elucidating the attributes that guarantee the resilience of Cerrado wet grasslands and which need to be considered in ecological restoration projects, aligning directly with the objectives of the thematic project # 19/07773-1. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
PILON, NATASHI A. L.; FREIRE, CAMILA T. R.; OLIVEIRA-ALVES, MARIA JULIA; OLIVEIRA, RAFAEL S. S.. Speedy blooming in Cerrado after fire is not uncommon: New records of Cyperaceae species flowering 24 h after burning. AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, v. 48, n. 5, p. 4-pg., . (21/02116-2, 20/09257-8, 19/07773-1)

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