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Title: Changes in seed rain across Atlantic Forest fragments in Northeast Brazil
Authors: Freitas, Cíntia Gomes
Sales Dambros, Cristian de
Camargo, José Luís Campana
Keywords: Biodiversity
Forest Cover
Habitat Fragmentation
Habitat Loss
Identification Method
Plant Community
Shade Tolerance
Species Diversity
Sugar Cane
Atlantic Forest
Issue Date: 2013
metadata.dc.publisher.journal: Acta Oecologica
metadata.dc.relation.ispartof: Volume 53, Pags. 49-55
Abstract: The objectives of this study were to characterize the distribution of seeds in remnant fragments of the Atlantic Coastal Forest and to determine whether the species diversity, seed weight, and species composition of plant communities are altered by forest fragmentation. A transect of 100m was established in the core of each of nine fragments of Atlantic Coastal Forest in a private sugarcane plantation in the state of Alagoas, NE Brazil, and ten seed-traps were distributed at intervals of 10m each along the transects. For 12 consecutive months seeds were collected, dried, counted, weighed, and identified to species. Seeds were assigned to categories according to their size, dispersal mode, and shade tolerance. Multiple regression models and Mantel correlation tests were used to detect the effects of fragment size, percent forest cover nearby, distance from the source area, and distance from the nearest fragment on species diversity, mean seed weight, and species similarity. Analyses were carried out for all species and for subsets corresponding to each seed category. A total of 21,985 diaspores of 190 species were collected. Most seeds were small, shade-intolerant, and zoochoric, which corroborates other studies of fragmented forest landscapes and reflects the high disturbance levels in isolated forest remnants. Our data indicate that fragmentation processes such as habitat loss can alter species diversity and species composition by reducing habitat availability and increasing fragment isolation. We also found that large-seeded species are more affected by fragment isolation, possibly because their seed dispersers rarely cross non-forested areas between fragments, while zoochoric species are more strongly affected by fragment size and apparently more strongly associated with local edaphic conditions than with distance from seed sources. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.
metadata.dc.identifier.doi: 10.1016/j.actao.2013.08.005
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