Reproductive phenology of the cerrado plant community in Emas National Park (central Brazil)
Marco Antônio Batalha and Fernando Roberto Martins
Australian Journal of Botany
52(2) 149 - 161
Published: 15 April 2004
The cerrado, a savanna-like formation, is the second-most widespread vegetation type in Brazil. Its core region occupies the Brazilian Central Plateau, with a seasonal climate, including wet summer and dry winter. We studied the reproductive phenological patterns of the cerrado plant community in Emas National Park (central Brazil). Monthly field trips revealed 601 species, classified, according to their dispersal syndromes, into anemo-, auto-, or zoochorous species, when they were dispersed by wind, explosion or gravity, or animals, respectively. We analysed the flowering and fruiting patterns of the community in relation to dispersal syndromes, comparing the herbaceous and the woody components. The herbaceous component was characterised by a majority of autochorous species, and the woody component, by a majority of zoochorous species. There was a striking seasonality in the community-wide pattern of flowering and fruiting, although this was different between the herbaceous and the woody components. Woody species flowered mainly during late dry and early wet seasons, whereas herbaceous species flowered especially during late wet season. In the dry season, when their diaspores can be dispersed more efficiently, the proportions of anemo- and autochorous fruiting species were higher. During the rainy season, when their fruits can be kept attractive for longer time, the number of fruiting zoochorous species reached its peak.
Full text doi:10.1071/BT03098
© CSIRO 2004