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Ferreira R.L.C.,Federal Rural University of Pernambuco | De Oliveira Silva S.,Unec Centro Universitario Of Caratinga | Da Silva J.A.A.,Federal Rural University of Pernambuco | De Andrade Lira M.,Ipa Instituto Agronomico Of Pernambuco | And 2 more authors.
Scientia Forestalis/Forest Sciences | Year: 2016

In northeastern Brazil, areas converted for pasture and agriculture are often abandoned; therefore the recovered areas contain vegetation at different successional stages. The aim of this study was to characterize the diversity and structure of Caatinga vegetation areas with different histories of use in northeastern Brazil. Two areas were used: 1) preserved with no historical evidence of deforestation for agricultural purposes; and 2) regenerated after cultivation of Opuntia ficus-indica Mill., approximately 30 years ago. In each area, vegetation of 12 plots was collected, considering all individuals with circumference at 1.30 m above ground level (CAP) ≥ 6.0 cm. Collected species were classified according to dispersal strategy into the categories of anemochoric, zoochoric, and autochoric. For the analysis of α diversity, species richness, Shannon index, Pielou's evenness, and Simpson's index were used. β diversity was evaluated using hierarchical cluster analysis. Structural analysis using density, basal area, and value of importance (VI) was conducted. A comparison between the diameter distributions of the areas was performed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Indicator species analysis (ISA) was conducted to identify the species preferences per area. The relationship of β diversity with the differences in the composition of species and their densities were analyzed with TWINSPAN. The two areas showed significant differences (p < 0.05) in richness, density, and basal area. There was no significant difference in diversity. Cluster analysis indicated the formation of two floristic groups (40% dissimilarity), which was corroborated by TWINSPAN and ISA. The regenerating area after 30 years of abandonment showed similar species diversity as did the preserved area; however, floristic composition, species richness, density, and basal area did not recover. The similarity in diameter distributions between areas indicated that the abandoned area is recovering its regenerative capability.

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