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Influence of defaunation on the dynamics of tropical plant life forms

Grant number: 19/05538-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal researcher:Mauro Galetti Rodrigues
Grantee:Yuri Silva de Souza
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/01986-0 - Ecological consequences of defaunation in the Atlantic Rainforest, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):19/20905-4 - The effects of defaunation on carbon stock in plant functional groups in the Atlantic forest, BE.EP.MS

Abstract

Tropical forests are highly dynamic systems and plant populations with different life forms are favored or repressed according to the natural or anthropogenic disturbance. Forest fragmentation, selective logging and edge effect favor heliophic species such as lianas, bamboos, and fast-growing trees instead of slow-growing ones. However, one of the least understood effects is how the extinction of large mammals (defaunation) affects the dynamics of different life forms in tropical forests. Previous studies have suggested that defaunation favors lianas, palms and trees, but we still lack experimental studies and a long time series to understand if and which life forms plant can favor with defaunation. In this project we intend to cover an important gap in our knowledge of how defaunation influences the dynamics of plant life forms (bamboos, lianas, herbs, trees and palms) by analyzing data from a 10-year time series of plant survival monitoring in an experiment of exclusion of mammals in 4 localities of the Atlantic Forest. Our project aims to understand how the defaunation can influence the density, survival and occupation of plants with different life forms in time and how defaunation, soil composition and intensity of light can influence the dominance of life forms in Atlantic Forest. (AU)

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