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Environmental heterogeneity caused by anthropogenic disturbance drives forest structure and dynamics in Brazilian Atlantic Forest

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  • T.M. Cirne-Silva
  • W.A.C. Carvalho
  • M.C.N.S. Terra
  • C.R. de Souza
  • A.B.M. Santos
  • S.J.B. Robinson
  • R.M. dos Santos
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Tropical Forest Science
Issue number2
Volume32
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)125-135
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

We evaluated how tree community floristic composition, forest structure and dynamics varied over a period of 13 years across a topographic gradient of ravines created by anthropic disturbance in Brazilian Atlantic Forest. The study area is located within a fragment of Atlantic Forest (21° 09' S, 44° 54' W), in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. This work was based on data of tree diameter at 1.3 m from the soil, collected in four inventories. Each individual was recorded as being in one of three stratified topographic classes: hilltop, slope and bottom. We used direct gradient analysis to evaluate floristic compositional changes, phytosociological analysis to evaluate structural variations, and assessed demographic and biomass changes over time through analysis of rates of forest dynamics. The results did not reflect modifications in the patterns of floristic composition and species diversity along the topographic gradient, while differences in forest structural attributes and dynamics may be detected at these smaller spatial scales. Thus, the same species group may employ different strategies against different restrictive environmental factors. Finally, we suggest that floristic composition and species diversity may be less sensitive parameters for post-disturbance responses than forest dynamics and structure.