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The role of a broadly distributed alien invasive plant (Leucaena leucocephala) in the local and regional dynamics of regenerating communities

Grant number: 20/14104-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Effective date (End): March 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal researcher:Tadeu de Siqueira Barros
Grantee:Juliano Zardetto
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Metacommunities with greater connectivity are more resistant to invasion. Invasive species affect the diversity of local communities by intensifying competition and eventually leading species to local extinction. In plant communities, the community's resistance to invasion depends on factors such as the richness of native species and the recruitment of their propagules. Since 1940, the species Leucaena leucocephala Lam. De Wit (leucena) has been considered one of the main invaders in landscapes with a history of environmental degradation. This study seeks to investigate the potential interference of leucena in the taxonomic and functional diversities ± and ², in regenerating communities around forest fragments of the Atlantic Forest. The main hypothesis is that the advance of leucena patches in areas of natural vegetation regeneration affects the diversity of the community that is reestablished in the place, making them less diverse and more homogeneous with each other. For this, we will analyze leucena patches with different ages, forming a time gradient, as an explanatory variable of the diversity between forest fragments and between transects of the same fragment. If the hypothesis is confirmed, leucene may pose a problem for the management and recovery of degraded areas. (AU)

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