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Natural regeneration of a riparian tropical seasonal forest: seed rain and soil seed bank.

Grant number: 09/01214-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2009
Effective date (End): December 31, 2009
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Forestry Resources and Forestry Engineering - Nature Conservation
Principal researcher:Vera Lex Engel
Grantee:Paula Keiko Takeda Nakayama
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas (FCA). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


The knowledge of the dynamics of soil seed banks and seed rain is fundamental to understand the forest succession process, as well as for its conservation e restoration. This paper aims at studying the role of the soil seed bank and seed rain in the dynamics of a riparian tropical seasonal forest fragment. The study site is located at Fazenda Lageado - Botucatu, eastern Brazil, between the coordinates 22º50'S and 48º24'W. The natural vegetation is classified as Semideciduous Seasonal Tropical Forest and it belongs to the Atlantic Forest domain. The fragment is a riparian vegetation of the right border Lavapés river and has 8.1 ha of area. It is a disturbed area, mainly by agriculture from the early twentieth century up to 1990. The seed rain will be studied by 30 litter traps installed at 50 cm from the floor, were the material deposited will be collected monthly during the period of 12 months. The traps are made of metal, covered with 50% sombrite and voil fabric and have an area of 50 cm x 50 cm. The litter will be sorted and seeds and fruits will be separated from the rest of the material. The seeds will be counted, identified and classified by size and dispersion syndrome. Samples of seeds will be kept to make a reference collection. For the soil seed bank, fifty superficial soil samples will be taken at the end of both the rainy and dry seasons. The collector has a diameter of 20 cm and the soil will be taken to a depth of 5 cm. The samples will be taken to the nursery and then placed in trays of 20 cm x 32 cm of area. The trays will be kept in ideal conditions for seed germination. Seedlings will be counted and identified weekly, until the germination process stops, within about 16 weeks. Data from both processes will be described and compared by abundance, diversity and similarity indexes.

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