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Influence of Edge Distance and Fragment Age on Leaf Herbivory in Tropical Forest

Grant number: 23/16453-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2024
Effective date (End): January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Milton Cezar Ribeiro
Grantee:Hellen Daiany Santos Lopes
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/10195-0 - Contribution of payment for ecosystem services on multi-dimensions within Atlantic Forest, AP.TEM


The loss of tropical forests threat biodiversity, but the effects of this loss on biodiversity, especially on plant-herbivore interactions, are still poorly understood. The herbivory process depends on several factors such as the availability and anti-herbivore defenses of the plant, which can be reduced in environments dominated by secondary plants and early successional stages, as these invest more resources in growth than in secondary metabolites, favoring the proliferation of herbivores. The landscape structure is another factor that can promote the herbivores' abundance, where the fragmentation of forest areas causes the increase of edges. These fragments, therefore, are exposed to the surrounding anthropic matrix, and it is at the edges that environmental changes occur, such as increased temperature and greater incidence of light and wind, influencing the composition of plant species and possible herbivore predators. Insect-plant interaction has several implications for ecology and evolutionary processes that, to a certain extent, influence ecological succession. The remnants forest age can also influence the structure and composition of vegetation, as well as have effects on the fauna that occupy such forests. The study aim is to evaluate whether the edge distance and the fragment age influence leaf herbivory in three plant species: Alchornea triplinervia, Croton floribundus and Croton organensis, found in the Atlantic Forest, in the Cantareira Mantiqueira Corridor region. With the results obtained, we will have a more solid basis to better understand the influence of landscape and forest age on plant-herbivore interaction.

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