Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 3035–3043

The invasion of Pteridium aquilinum and the impoverishment of the seed bank in fire prone areas of Brazilian Atlantic Forest

  • Úrsula Souza Rodrigues da de Silva
  • Dalva M. da Silva Matos


Several studies have documented that fires are widespread in the tropics. Because fire in the Atlantic Rain Forest is rare, fire events and their consequences at the community level have not been evaluated. This study describes the composition of different seed banks in areas of Atlantic Forest. The study was carried out in the National Park of Tijuca in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Four different areas were chosen considering their differences on fire history. Fifteen soil surface samples (23 cm (centimeter) diameter ×7 cm height at 5 cm deep) were obtained from random locations within each site. The dominant family at all study sites except in the most preserved one were Dennstaetiaceae, followed by Melastomataceae and Poaceae. The family Dennstaetiaceae was exclusively represented by Pteridium aquilinum (Klf.) Herter. There were no significant differences among areas when comparing the number of seedlings excluding P. aquilinum. However, the number of P. aquilinum was higher in the most disturbed area, while Melastomataceae and Rubiaceae were more frequent in a less impacted area. Our results suggest that the seed bank in disturbed areas of the Atlantic Forest possibly will not contribute for forest restoration after disturbance.


Bracken Fire Germination Seedbank composition Tropical forests 



Fundação Estadual de Engenharia do Meio Ambiente


Instituto Brasileiro para o Desenvolvimento Florestal


Secretaria Estadual do Meio Ambiente


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Úrsula Souza Rodrigues da de Silva
    • 1
  • Dalva M. da Silva Matos
    • 2
  1. 1.Depto de Ciências NaturaisUniversidade do Rio de JaneiroUrca, Rio de Janeiro (RJ)Brazil
  2. 2.Depto de BotânicaUniversidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos (SP)Brazil

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