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Control of competitive plants in ecological restoration

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Flávia Garcia Florido
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Pedro Henrique Santin Brancalion; José Leonardo de Moraes Gonçalves; Sílvia Renate Ziller
Advisor: Pedro Henrique Santin Brancalion

Biological invasions threaten natural and restoration areas, acting as filters to ecological succession. Chemical control of competitive species is a reality in many restoration areas, with glyphosate as the main herbicide used. Although efficient and with low costs, there are some concerns on the use of herbicides in natural and restoration areas relating to environmental performance of these chemicals. Thus, understanding the reality of managing competitive species, including invasive species, in restoration projects on the world scenario and the real benefits and risks of glyphosate use on restoration of riparian forests is essential to improve restoration projects in Brazil and in the world. First, a structured review was conducted focusing on gathering information of restoration techniques, degradation factors, major groups of invasive plants and characteristics of management techniques for global biomes and for different country groups related to the Human Development Index, with analysis of contamination potential and toxicity for the top four herbicides listed. The main degradation factors were the invasion of non-native species, agriculture and grazing, with direct sowing as the main restoration technique. The Poaceae had the highest frequency for competing plants on restoration in all analyzed biomes. In general, the physical management was most used, with mowing as the main intervention. For chemical management, the main herbicides were Glyphosate, Imazapic, Imazapyr and Triclopyr, the last one considered with the greatest potential for environmental damage. In the second stage, a field study was conducted to evaluate benefits and risks related to glyphosate use in the restoration of riparian forests. In this context, we tested on a field experiment three weed control treatments: 1) mowing as needed; 2) mowing less frequently; 3) directed application of glyphosate. There were conducted evaluations of economic order (maintenance costs), forestry order (biomass of competitive plants, growth of planted seedlings in height, canopy cover and stem diameter), ecological order (density and richness of regenerating and richness of ruderal plants) and pollution potential (analysis of glyphosate and AMPA in soil and water and sediment from runoff solution, by chromatography). The plots submitted to weed control with glyphosate showed better seedling growth and lower management costs. Residual glyphosate or AMPA were not detected in soil or water, but residues of the both molecules were found on sediments. Chemical control of grasses with glyphosate had low costs, was more effective and allowed better seedling growth and expression of natural regeneration comparing to mechanic treatments, but actions of soil conservation and implementation of buffer strips are required for its use on riparian restoration areas. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/11256-3 - Control of competitive plants in ecological restoration
Grantee:Flávia Garcia Flórido
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master