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Fine litterfall, soil fauna and soil organic matter in diferent forest restoration systems

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Deivid Lopes Machado
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Botucatu. 2016-07-11.
Institution: Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp). Faculdade de Ciências Agronômicas. Botucatu
Defense date:
Advisor: Vera Lex Engel; Luiz Fernando Duarte de Moraes

Functioning of forest ecosystems is greatly affected by composition as well as functional traits of plant species. However, the relationship between vegetation traits with nutrient cycling related processes in ecological restoration is so far under explored in the literature. We investigated the effects of tree species traits on different aspects of nutrient cycling (litter and nutrients production, litter-associated fauna and soil organic matter - SOM) in different ecological restoration systems. We analyzed a long-term experiment implemented in 1997, at the Campus of UNESP/FCA in Botucatu, at two sites with different soil characteristics. Site 1 has a clayey and higher fertility soil (a fertile loamy Ultisol) and Site 2 has a sandy texture and lower fertility soil (Alfisol). The experiment was designed in randomized blocks with five treatments (restoration systems) and three replications in 50 x 50 m plots (2500 m²). Four different restoration systems were implanted at each site. Restoration systems are differentiated by the number and composition of species used: direct seeding (SEM), agroforestry (AGR), commercial timber and firewood and (CML) and diversified (DIV). A control system (CON), with no planting and natural succession processes are following its own way (passive restoration) was also analyzed. Furthermore, we studied a fragment of seasonal semideciduous forest next to each site as a reference (REF). We assessed the number of species (rarefied richness), density, basal area and percentage of nitrogen fixing species and percentage of individuals of deciduous species in all restoration systems and forest reference. Litter and nutrient yield were higher both in the commercial (CML) and diversified (DIV) systems, regardless of site condition, which was due, respectively, to the largest proportion of individuals of putative nitrogen fixing species and higher species richness in those systems. The commercial and diversified systems were also the ones who most differed from the control and were the most similar to the reference. Restoration systems did not influence the soil fauna community structure, neither differed from the control and reference forest, while site conditions and seasonality were the main factors explaining differences, a reflection mainly of soil moisture and levels of P and Ca from litter stock. Although our results indicate that species richness and percentage of nitrogen-fixing species had a major influence on SOM dynamics, this was only observed at Site 1, due to the greater clay content. In Site 2, the high sand proportion resulted in low SOM levels. In Site 1, athought we have not found differences amidst restoration systems, our results indicated that the commercial mixed planting (CML) and diversified (DIV) systems were the most similar ones to the reference forest, especially the COM, regarding total nitrogen, total organic carbon, natural 15N abundance and carbon associated with minerals (COam). By means of an integrative analysis of all processes studied here, our results suggest that the choice of species with particular traits (for example, putative nitrogen biological fixation) are as effective at restoring processes nutrient cycling, as systems with high species richness. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/23593-1 - Aboveground and belowground interactions in different systems for ecological restoration of the seasonal semideciduous forest.
Grantee:Deivid Lopes Machado
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate