Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Adaptive strategy of tree communities on an environmental harshness hinterland inselberg in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Felipe de Carvalho Araujo A E , Carolina Njaime Mendes B , Gabriela Gomes Pires B , Gisele Cristina de Oliveira Menino D , Marco Aurelio Leite Fontes C and Rubens Manoel Dos Santos C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Programa de Pós Graduação em Botânica Aplicada, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, MG, 37200-000, Brazil.

B Programa de Pós Graduação em Engenharia Florestal, Departamento de Ciências Florestais, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, MG, 37200-000, Brazil.

C Departamento de Ciências Florestais, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, MG, 37200-000, Brazil.

D Instituto Federal de Educação Ciência e Tecnologia Goiano - Campus Rio Verde Rodovia Sul Goiana Km 01 Zona Rural Rio Verde-GO Cep: 75901-970.

E Corresponding author. Email: carvalhoaraujo_f@yahoo.com.br

Australian Journal of Botany 65(5) 463-470 https://doi.org/10.1071/BT16252
Submitted: 10 December 2016  Accepted: 25 July 2017   Published: 21 August 2017

Abstract

Trees and other plants growing in stressful environments can display adaptive strategies such as sprouting, which is considered to be a functional trait for the persistence niche. For example, inselbergs are rocky outcrops that impose limitations on many plant forms through selective pressure to adapt to these environments. The present research tested the hypotheses that environmental harshness enhances sprouting, and that multi-stemmed trees have different persistence dynamics compared with single-stemmed trees. We sampled vegetation in 2006 and 2011 across a soil depth gradient in three areas: riparian forest, inselbergs and a corridor between the first two areas. Trees with a diameter at the breast height (dbh) ≥5 cm were sampled, and sprouts were counted. Results showed that the inselberg had more sprouted individuals and a larger amount of sprouts than the other areas. Thus, sprouting as a survival strategy was efficient in dealing with the environmental harshness and may be considered an adaptive strategy of trees to enable them to persist in such environments. The dynamic of multi-stemmed trees differed from single-stemmed ones, and the inselberg was distinct from the other areas. Over the 5 years of the present study, sprouting proved to be a strategy of persistence in this habitat, a finding that is in accordance with our hypothesis. Factors contributing to the environmental harshness, such as soil depth, may be the cause of sprouting in trees.

Additional keywords: functional traits, inselbergs, persistence niche, soil depth, sprouting, temporal dynamics.


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