A influência dos fatores abióticos na determinação dos padrões florísticos existentes na estação Ecológica de Itirapina, SP
Leite, Marcelo Boccia
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The Cerrado is the second largest biome of Brazil, originally covering 22% of the country and occurring in 16 states and Federal District. It is considered a world´s biodiversity hotspot, containing 1.2 percent of all flora richness. The cerrado physiognomies are characterized as a vegetation mosaic, ranging from open grassland formations to dense forests, replacing along a physiognomy continuum. These physiognomies are formed by two layers with different competition abilities (1) herbaceous, as best competitor for water and nutrients available in the surface layers , while (2) woody components, which uptake more efficiently the resources available in deeper soil. Differences in competitive ability between these layers, associated with environmental heterogeneity (i.e. fire, soil physical-chemistry and water availability) are strongly related with differences between the physiognomies. In this study, we aimed (1) describe the structure of three Cerrado physiognomies, focusing on the woody components; (2) asses the efficiency of different descriptors of savanna physiognomies; (3) address the role of abiotic factors (soil and water availability) on the occurrence of these physiognomies. We carried out the study in the Itirapina Ecological Station (22º11'- 22 15'S and 47º51'-48º00'W), São Paulo state, Brazil. We found differences in species richness, dominant families and importance value index (IVI) compared with other cerrado areas. In addition, Byrsonima coccolobifolia showed as an important species in opened physiognomies throughout the country, whereas occurrence of Gochnatia polymorpha was limited to the austral region of Cerrado. Our results showed that floristic similarity, basal area and cylinder volume were less effective cerrado descriptors, whereas richness, density, basal area of the widest individual and the height of the largest individual were effective as descriptors of all physiognomies evaluated. Since we found little differences in physical and chemical properties between our the studied sites, and, these differences were related to high water availability indicating the soil parameters does not drive the occurrence of physiognomies in entisols. In contrast, we found a positive relation between groundwater level and the occurrence of grasslands, which never subject to water deficit. We conclude that water table depth drives the vegetation gradient in the Itirapina Ecological Station (IEE) and could have a similar role, in other sites of Cerrado that also occur in entisols.