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Fragmentation drives tropical forest fragments to early successional states: A modelling study for Brazilian Atlantic forests

Texto completo
Puetz, S. [1, 2] ; Groeneveld, J. [1, 3] ; Alves, L. F. [4, 5] ; Metzger, J. P. [6] ; Huth, A. [1]
Número total de Autores: 5
Afiliação do(s) autor(es):
[1] UFZ Helmholtz Ctr Environm Res, Dept Ecol Modelling, D-04318 Leipzig - Germany
[2] UFZ Helmholtz Ctr Environm Res, Nat Conservat Dept, D-04301 Leipzig - Germany
[3] Univ Auckland, Sch Geog Geol & Environm Sci, Auckland 1 - New Zealand
[4] Univ Colorado, INSTAAR, Boulder, CO 80309 - USA
[5] Nucl Pesquisa Ecol, Inst Bot, Sao Paulo - Brazil
[6] Univ Sao Paulo, Inst Biociencias, BR-05508 Sao Paulo - Brazil
Número total de Afiliações: 6
Tipo de documento: Artigo Científico
Fonte: ECOLOGICAL MODELLING; v. 222, n. 12, p. 1986-1997, JUN 24 2011.
Citações Web of Science: 68

Land use leads to massive habitat destruction and fragmentation in tropical forests. Despite its global dimensions the effects of fragmentation on ecosystem dynamics are not well understood due to the complexity of the problem. We present a simulation analysis performed by the individual-based model FORMIND. The model was applied to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one of the world's biodiversity hot spots, at the Plateau of Sao Paulo. This study investigates the long-term effects of fragmentation processes on structure and dynamics of different sized remnant tropical forest fragments (1-100 ha) at community and plant functional type (PFT) level. We disentangle the interplay of single effects of different key fragmentation processes (edge mortality, increased mortality of large trees, local seed loss and external seed rain) using simulation experiments in a full factorial design. Our analysis reveals that particularly small forest fragments below 25 ha suffer substantial structural changes, biomass and biodiversity loss in the long term. At community level biomass is reduced up to 60%. Two thirds of the mid- and late-successional species groups, especially shade-tolerant (late successional climax) species groups are prone of extinction in small fragments. The shade-tolerant species groups were most strongly affected; its tree number was reduced more than 60% mainly by increased edge mortality. This process proved to be the most powerful of those investigated, explaining alone more than 80% of the changes observed for this group. External seed rain was able to compensate approximately 30% of the observed fragmentation effects for shade-tolerant species. Our results suggest that tropical forest fragments will suffer strong structural changes in the long term, leading to tree species impoverishment. They may reach a new equilibrium with a substantially reduced subset of the initial species pool, and are driven towards an earlier successional state. The natural regeneration potential of a landscape scattered with forest fragments appears to be limited, as external seed rain is not able to fully compensate for the observed fragmentation-induced changes. Our findings suggest basic recommendations for the management of fragmented tropical forest landscapes. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. (AU)

Processo FAPESP: 99/05123-4 - Conservação da biodiversidade em paisagens fragmentadas no Planalto Atlântico de São Paulo (Brasil)
Beneficiário:Jean Paul Walter Metzger
Linha de fomento: Auxílio à Pesquisa - Programa BIOTA - Temático