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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 2263–2289 | Cite as

Phenology and dispersal modes of wood species in the Carrasco, a tropical deciduous shrubland in the Brazilian semiarid

  • Sandra Freitas de Vasconcelos
  • Francisca Soares de Araújo
  • Ariadna Valentina LopesEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

We provide, for the first time, data on phenology and dispersal modes for the Carrasco, a tropical deciduous shrubland in the Brazilian semiarid. The study was conducted in the Serra das Almas Reserve (5°8′45″S, 40°55′43″W), northeastern Brazil. We sampled 2,790 individuals from 39 species, 30 genera, and 17 families. Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Myrtaceae were the most representative. All species lose leaves, fully or partially, during the dry season. Leaf flush was observed to increase at the end of the dry season with a peak during the rainy season. Similarly, the peak of flowering/fruiting occurred at the end of the dry and the beginning of the rainy season. Air humidity and maximum temperature were the only variables correlated with leaf flush. Most species showed annual flowering/fruiting. Flowering lasted 2–5 months, but even longer fruiting periods were observed. Zoochory was the most frequent dispersal mode, followed by autochory. Zoochoric, barochoric, and autochoric species fruited throughout the year, while for anemochorics fruiting occurred at the end of the rainy and/or during dry season. Despite both, the Carrasco and the Caatinga are deciduous, the Carrasco has a greater intensity and duration of phenological events and a higher frequency of zoochory, thus being more similar to less arid ecosystems. We discuss the local implications of these patterns, as well as how our results are in accordance with other regional and global studies with similar approaches.

Keywords

Deciduous shrubland Fruit type Northeastern Brazil Reproductive phenology Vegetative phenology 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Prof. Dr. A.M. Giulietti (UEFS-Brazil) for the Fellowship (DTI-CNPq) to S. Vasconcelos (through the Project IMSEAR/CNPq/MCT—Instituto do Milênio do Semi-árido) during the first year of her Master Program; CNPq for financial support to carry out field work (through the Project Estrutura e funcionamento de formações xerófilas no estado do Ceará—Edital Universal), for a Master Fellowship to S. Vasconcelos during the second year of her course, and also for Research Grants to A. Lopes and F. Araujo; L.W. Lima-Verde (UFC-Brazil) for indentifying the species; G. Machado and J. Arruda for their help in field work; A. Aguiar (University of Florida at Gainesville-USA) for the Fig. 1 and suggestions; F. Martins for critically reading the manuscript (Unicamp-Brazil). The managers of the Serra das Almas Reserve for permission to work on lands under their supervision and for logistic support; and an anonymous referee for valuable suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Freitas de Vasconcelos
    • 1
  • Francisca Soares de Araújo
    • 2
  • Ariadna Valentina Lopes
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Vegetal, Departamento de Botânica, CCBUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia, Centro de CiênciasUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Botânica, CCBUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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