Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 2371–2387 | Cite as

Intermediary disturbance increases tree diversity in riverine forest of southern Brazil

  • Jean Carlos BudkeEmail author
  • João André Jarenkow
  • Ary Teixeira de Oliveira-Filho
Original Paper


Floods are frequently associated with disturbance in structuring riverine forests and they lead to environmental heterogeneity over space and time. We evaluated the distribution of tree species, ecological groups, species richness and diversity from the point bar to the slope of a riverside forest in southern Brazil (Lat. 30°01′S, Long. 52°47′W) to analyze the effects of flooding on soil properties and forest structure. A plot of 50 × 200 m divided in five contiguous transects of 10 × 200 m parallel to the river was installed, where we measured all the individual trees with pbh ≥ 15 cm. A detailed topographical and soil survey was carried out across the plot and indicated significant differences in organic matter and most mineral nutrients through the topographical gradient. The 1,229 surveyed individuals belonged to 72 species and 35 families. We used Partial CCA and Species Indicator Analysis to observe the spatial distribution of species. Both analyses showed that species distribution was strongly related to the flooding gradient, soil properties and also by space and pure spatial structuring of species and environmental variables (spatial autocorrelation), although a large part of variation remains unexplained. The ecological groups of forest stratification, plant dispersal and requirements for germination indicated slight differences among frequently, occasional and non-flooded transects. Species richness and diversity were higher at intermediate elevations and were associated to the increased spatial–temporal environmental heterogeneity. Across the plot, the direct influence of flooding on tree species distribution created a vegetation zonation that is determined by predicted ecological traits.


Disturbance Ecological groups Flooding regime Partial CCA Soil properties Species richness and diversity 



We are grateful to the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Botânica of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul—UFRGS, for the opportunity to undertake this study and to CAPES Agency for the scholarship granted to the first author. Our special thanks to Diogo “Bagual” Lindenmaier for fieldwork assistance and to Ricardo Braga, Eduardo Rossi and colleagues of the Laboratório de Fitoecologia—UFRGS for critiques and suggestions. We also appreciated the reviewing efforts of anonymous contributors, for providing useful comments to the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10531_2010_9845_MOESM1_ESM.doc (256 kb)
Table S1 Structural parameters of a riverine forest on the Botucaraí river, southern Brazil. AF = absolute frequency (%), ADo = absolute dominance (m2 ha−1), EG = ecological groups, P = pioneer, Ld = light-demanding and St = shade-tolerant; S = small, M = medium, T = tall; Zoo-Z = zoochorous, Ane = anemochorous, Aut = Autochorous, Hyd = Hydrochorous. Families were ordered according to importance values (DOC 257 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Carlos Budke
    • 1
    Email author
  • João André Jarenkow
    • 2
  • Ary Teixeira de Oliveira-Filho
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Regional Integrada do Alto Uruguai e das Missões—URIErechimBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de BotânicaUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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