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Abiotic factors determining spatial distribution of tree species in four forest formations of the State of São Paulo

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Simone Rodrigues de Magalhães
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Ricardo Ribeiro Rodrigues; Flávio Bertin Gandara Mendes; Alessandra dos Santos Penha
Advisor: Ricardo Ribeiro Rodrigues

In the study of forest communities, establish the relative importance of the factors that define the composition and distribution of species is a challenge. In terms of environmental gradients study the responses of tree species are essential to the understanding of ecological processes and conservation decisions. In this regard, to contribute to the elucidation of ecological processes in the main forest formations of São Paulo (Dense Ombrophylous Forest of Lowlands, Submontane Dense Ombrophylous Forest, Semideciduous Forest and Savanna Woodland) this study aimed to answer the following questions: (I) floristic composition and tree species abundance in each phytogeographic unit change according to edaphic and topographic gradient?; (II) soil characteristics and topography can influence the occurrence of predictability of tree species widely distributed in different types of vegetation? (III) there is a relationship between spatial distribution pattern of tree species and the soil parameters and topography? The work was carried out in allocated plots in protected areas (PA) with the four main forest formations in terms of conservation and size of Sao Paulo. In each PA was sampled individual trees, topography, texture data and chemical properties of the soil on a plot of 10.24 ha, subdivided into 256 subplots. Canonical corresponding analyzes (CCA) were applied to establish the correspondence between the abundance of species and environmental gradient (soil and topography). The modified TWINSPAN method was applied to CCA ordination diagram to evaluate the influence of environmental variables (soil and topography) on species composition. Boosteed Regression Trees (BRT) were adjusted for predicting the occurrence of the species according to soil variables and topography. The Getis Ord-index (G) was used to determine the spatial autocorrelation of environmental variables used in the BRT models. In analyzed phytogeographic units, correspondence between the environmental gradient (soil and topography) and abundance of species was significant, especially in Savanna Woodland. The soil and topography also correlated with the floristic composition similarity of the subplots, with the exception of Semicidual Seasonal Forest (EEC). The main soil and topography variables related to floristic in each PA were: (1) Dense Ombrophylous Forest of Lowlands (PEIC) - aluminium content in the deep layer (Al (80-100 cm)) which may reflect the Al content at the surface, soil acidity (pH (H2O) (5-25 cm)) and altitude, which outlined the flooded areas; (2) Submontane Dense Ombrophylous Forest (PECB) - elevation, due to the rugged terrain influences the temperature and light incidence in the understory; (3) Savanna Woodland (EEA) - fertility, tolerance to aluminum and soil acidity. In BRT prediction models, the chemical soil variables were more important than the texture due to small variation of this soil attribute in the sampled area. Among the soil chemical variables, cation exchange capacity was used to predict the species occurrence in four forest formations and particularly important in the soil deepest layer on the Dense Ombrophylous Forest of Lowlands (PEIC). In relation to topography, elevation was included in most models and had different influences on the study areas. Overall, the species widely distributed showed the same trend as the association with the attributes of the soil, but with amplitudes of edaphic descriptors that change according to the study area. The occurrence of the Guapira opposita and Syagrus romanzoffiana, whose pattern change according to the scale, was explained by variables with aggregated spatial patterns that amounted to between 30% and 50% relative importance in the BRT model. The presence of A. anthelmia, which defaults also presented certain level of aggregation, was associated only with one aggregate variable, elevation (21%), which may have exerted great influence on the species distribution to delimit wetlands. T. guianensis was related with the predictive environmental variables of aggregate spatial pattern which totaled to about 70% relative importance, what must have been enough to establish the aggregate pattern at all scales. However, the influence of environmental factors (soil and topography) on the species distribution pattern depends not only on the environmental optimum of the species, but a result of species-environment interaction. We concluded that: (I) soil and topographical characteristics explain a small portion of the floristic composition in each phytogeographic unit, although the occurrence of some species have been associated to the soil and topographic gradient; (II) from soil characteristics and topography it was possible to predict the presence of tree species, which showed particular in relation to its association with the soil of each vegetation type; (III) from descriptive associations soil and topography influence the spatial distribution pattern of the species, to the extent that contribute to the presence of the same. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/20550-0 - Abiotic factors affecting the distribution of tree species in four forest formations of São Paulo
Grantee:Simone Rodrigues de Magalhães
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate