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Alternatives of Forest Restoration of Pastures

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Allan Camatta Mônico
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:
Sergius Gandolfi; Vera Lex Engel; Flávio Bertin Gandara Mendes; Daniel Luis Mascia Vieira
Advisor: Sergius Gandolfi

The extension of degraded areas has grown in Brazil and in the world, raising the need for efficient and low-cost ecological restoration methods that allow the rapid reconstruction of tropical forests. Livestock farming is the agricultural activity of greatest impact generating degraded areas and Brazil currently has the largest cattle herd in the world. Most pastures are degraded and have a low level of technification, resulting in low productivity for the sector. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test different restoration strategies for the structuring of tropical forest communities in abandoned pastures adjacent to fragments of Atlantic Forest (Semideciduous Seasonal Forest - SSF). We deployed 12 treatments and four repetitions, in plots of 600 m2 (12x50m), 2.88 ha total at the São Paulo Zootechny Institute, in Sertãozinho, SP, Brazil. The Institute was chosen because it is strategically located in a highly fragmented region and has a history of intensive land use, which is the reality of most of Brazil\'s pastureland. The thesis was structured in three main parts. The first one compared communities resulting from secondary succession to communities resulting from assisted natural regeneration after the application of different management intensities of grass control and soil fertilization. The soils were evaluated previously and found them to be fertile and compacted, and the seedbanks showed high dominance of shrubs and grasses with a heterogeneous distribution of tree species. Natural regeneration evaluation revealed that the best treatment was the application of herbicide plus fertilization, and the worst was the control treatment, that lead to a stagnated secondary succession or to very slowly changes. The higher and more intense the management of natural regeneration, the greater the results obtained regarding density, height and crown area. However, no treatment managed to structure a forest canopy within 32 months. In the second study, the treatment with the best results at the age 32 months was compared with two other treatments in areas were regeneration was being managed; both received plantations of two pioneer species, one was fertilized and the other was not. In only 20 months, the plantations created a forest structure with greater canopy cover, higher density and diversity of species common to the final stages of succession. Soil fertilization had no influence over natural regeneration under the plantations. The third chapter of the thesis tested the sowing of castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) between planting lines of fast-growing wide-canopy native species aiming the construction of transient canopies, enriched or not by the plantation of early-secondary seedlings. These canopies should control grasses and favor the survival and growth of planted individuals growing underneath. The results demonstrated an effective control of grasses and a reduction in the mortality of early-secondary species under the canopy; although more studies are needed to improve the technique. At the end of the thesis, the 12 treatments were compared in terms of ecological efficiency and costs, concluding that the more intensive the management adopted, increasing the predictability of the resulting communities and restoration success, the greater the direct costs. In addition, two other items were presented as lessons learned during the development of the thesis. This study was important because it presented several restoration strategies for pastures close to remnant forests in a fragmented matrix on intensively used soils, highly representative of SSF, that extends through the central region of Brazil. The results obtained can help small and large landowners, decision makers, policymakers and all of those involved in the ecological restoration value chain regarding how to structure ecologically and cost-effectively sustainable and biodiverse forest communities over abandoned pastures. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 16/16242-1 - Alternatives to Forest Restoration on Pastures
Grantee:Allan Camatta Mônico
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate