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Development and distribution of tree species, of the four major forest types of São Paulo State, according to soil and topographic characteristics

Grant number: 14/00837-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 30, 2014
Effective date (End): July 29, 2014
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Forestry Resources and Forestry Engineering - Nature Conservation
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Ribeiro Rodrigues
Grantee:Simone Rodrigues de Magalhães
Supervisor: Julian David Olden
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Washington, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:11/20550-0 - Abiotic factors affecting the distribution of tree species in four forest formations of São Paulo, BP.DR


The associations of organisms with each other and the environment, along with the process of evolutionary adaptation, make the interactions between the physical environment and forest communities not easily elucidated. Due to nature of the ecological data, it is necessary to use a method capable of handling non-linearities and noise. Artificial neural networks (ANN) are able to model data with these characteristics, and make predictions and extrapolations without a pre-defined mathematical model. In this work, this tool will be used to establish the relationships between populations of forest species and soil and topographic characteristics. Specific aims are to answer the following questions: (I) How the soil and topographical characteristics influence the occurrence and growth, in terms of basal area, of the species co-occurring in different forest formations?; (II) Is there a relation among soil and topographic characteristics and pattern of aggregation of certain forest species?; and (III) How could the knowledge generated about soil and topographic features be used in programs for ecological restoration? The study will be developed in four Conservation Units (CU) of the Sao Paulo state, each one having well-preserved stretches of the major forest types that occur in the state. In each CU is allocated a plot of 320 x 320 m (10.24 ha), with 256 subplots of 400 m², for which was provided a description of the physical factors (planialtimetric and edaphic characterization) and biotic (floristic and phytosociological). In each subplot, the density and basal area of the species will be registered, in order to be associated with the characteristics of soil and topography through RNA, used as an approximation of function in each phytogeographic unit. (AU)

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