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Legal Reserve restoration techniques in the Cerrado region: evaluation of effectiveness in recovering biodiversity and ecosystem services

Grant number: 23/03670-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2024
Effective date (End): March 31, 2028
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:Giselda Durigan
Grantee:Márcio Venícius Barbosa Xavier
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas (FCA). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


Efforts to restore ecosystems have generally been directed towards forests, but forest restoration techniques have failed to restore the Cerrado. There is a lack of scientifically validated techniques for restoring savannah formations. This demand becomes more complex in Legal Reserve (RL) areas, where, in addition to ecosystem recovery, the Law provides for the sustainable economic use of natural resources. In this context, the objective of this research is the experimental validation of restoration techniques, which were designed based on existing scientific knowledge about the ecology and cultivation of native species in the Cerrado in the same region. The evaluation will be done through indicators that are proxies of: (i) ecological similarity (biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecological processes) of the ecosystem under restoration compared to the reference ecosystems (cerrado sensu stricto or cerradão remaining in the vicinity), and ( ii) effectiveness of the techniques in restoring the ecological functions and, also, the expected potential for sustainable exploration in the case of RL. The experiment was implemented 8 years ago in the State Forest of Assis, SP, where the historical vegetation was cerrado sensu lato. After a few decades of use as pasture and then agriculture, with no potential for natural regeneration of native vegetation, the experiment was set up, which comprises six active restoration techniques and a control treatment (passive restoration), in a completely randomized design, with 10 replicas ( plots of 50 m x 50 m) per treatment. In addition to advances in science, we hope that the study will support evidence-based decision-making in Cerrado restoration and environmental regularization of rural properties in Cerrado regions.

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