The process of fragmentation and habitat loss due to anthropogenic activities severely impacts biodiversity, and as a result affects various ecological processes and their associated ecosystem services. Of these ecological processes, seed rain is especially crucial in the maintenance of plant populations, influencing demographic structure and genetic variability, as well as driving the spatial-temporal distribution of tropical forests. Despite being an essential process to forest regeneration, we have a poor understanding of how landscape changes affect seed rain. In the proposed study, we plan to explore how the composition and configuration of the landscape affects the richness and abundance of seeds found in seed rain occurring in Atlantic Forest fragments. We will collect data along gradients of: forest quantity, fragment size, forest connectivity, and distance from fragment border. This study will be carried out as part of the Long-term Ecological Study of the Cantareira-Mantiqueira Corridor. Seed rain collectors will be place in 20 unique forest landscapes, with four replicates per landscape each located on a separate farm, resulting in a total of 80 farms. The farms will be monitored over the course of 6 months, during the peak period of fruit and seed production in the region (August - December). We will investigate various hypothesis to quantify the relative contribution of variables (forest cover (%), fragment area, connectivity, and distance from forest edge) to seed rain in these Atlantic Forest fragments.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: