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Biomonitoring of the Atlantic Forest in biodiversity conservation: native tree species as accumulators of chemical elements

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Elvis Joacir de França
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Piracicaba. , ilustrações.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Elisabete Aparecida De Nadai Fernandes; Marcio Arruda Bacchi; Peter Bode; Ricardo Ribeiro Rodrigues; Mitiko Saiki
Advisor: Elisabete Aparecida De Nadai Fernandes
Field of knowledge: Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry
Indexed in: Banco de Dados Bibliográficos da USP-DEDALUS; Biblioteca Digital de Teses e Dissertações - USP
Location: Universidade de São Paulo. Biblioteca Central da Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz; ESALQ-BC/t634.90981; F814b

The BIOTA Project “Diversity, dynamic and conservation of forests from the São Paulo State: 40 ha of permanent parcels" has been conducted to provide the knowledge on the generation, sustainability and regulation processes of the biodiversity of the State. A long-term plot (permanent parcel) was installed in the conservation unit corresponding to the Dense Ombrophilous Forest (Atlantic Forest) for the environmental characterization of the ecosystem. The investigation of chemical elements in this highly threatened forest was performed in this Doctorate Thesis. Several processes are responsible for the sustainability of the natural ecosystems. Mineral cycling defines the pathway of chemical elements from non-biotic compartments (soil and atmosphere) to biotic compartments (leaf and litter). The complexity of this regulatory mechanism is related to the deficiency, toxicity, phytoavailability and the interactions of the chemical elements, in addition to environmental growth conditions like luminosity, temperature and humidity. Due to its adaptability, plants are able to uptake and accumulate chemical elements in their tissues. This accumulation is an active process in which the plants tend to maintain the concentrations of some chemical elements independently of the environmental conditions. Such characteristic corroborates the use of these organisms for quantifying the environmental quality by biomonitoring studies of atmospheric pollution. Instrumental neutron activation analysis – INAA was the analytical technique employed for biomonitoring due to its high metrological level and its capability for simultaneous determination of several chemical elements. For the comparability of the results, the quality of analytical procedure, the representativeness of samples and the effect of contamination with earth particles adhered to the leaf surface were also studied. The chemical composition of the soil, litter and leaf compartments was evaluated by INAA. The concentrations of some elements were higher for the soils of the valleys and considerably lower for the soils at higher altitudes. Such variability was not observed for the concentrations found in leaves, indicating the intrinsic chemical composition in plants. The concentrations in leaf did not change significantly (at the 95% confidence level) as demonstrated by the results from four different periods of sampling. Some tree species were able to accumulate the nutrients Ca, Co, K, Na, Se and Zn, the trace elements Br, Ba, Cs, Rb, Sc and Sr and the lanthanides Ce, Eu, La, Sm, Tb and Yb. The use of plants species for biomonitoring the long-term plot provided knowledge on the background concentrations of chemical elements. The Atlantic Forest can be considered to have a low status of pollution since most plants have shown concentrations within the expected range with exception of the accumulator species. Concentrations of some trace elements like As, Cd, Cr and Ni were below the detection limits. This work concentrated efforts to establish reference standards for studies on environmental impact considering the chemical composition in the long-term plot of the Atlantic Forest. The reservoir of chemical elements in the ecosystem was estimated, evidencing the importance of such knowledge for the biodiversity conservation. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 03/01075-2 - Tree species native to the Atlantic Rainforest bioaccumulators of chemical elements
Grantee:Elvis Joacir de França
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)