Plant and Soil

, Volume 333, Issue 1–2, pp 431–442 | Cite as

Not all forests are expanding over central Brazilian savannas

  • Lucas C. R. Silva
  • Mundayatan Haridasan
  • Leonel S. L. Sternberg
  • Augusto C. Franco
  • William A. Hoffmann
Regular Article

Abstract

Recently we reported on the expansion of riparian forests into savannas in central Brazil. To enlarge the scope of the earlier study we investigated whether upland deciduous and xeromorphic forests behaved similarly. We investigated past vegetation changes that occurred in forest/savanna transitions using carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) measured in the soil organic matter as a tracer. We analyzed the 14C activity where δ13C showed major shifts in vegetation. The role of soil chemical and physical attributes in defining vegetation distribution is discussed. Structural changes in vegetation were found to be associated with shifts in the isotope composition (δ13C) of soil organic matter. This was attributed to intrinsic differences in the biomass of trees and grasses and allowed for the determination of past shifts in vegetation by evaluating δ13C at different depths. The deciduous forest decreased in area approximately 980 years ago. Tree cover increased in the xeromorphic forest, but the border stayed stable through time. The deciduous forest and adjacent savanna have eutrophic soils while the xeromorphic forest and adjacent savanna have dystrophic soils. However, greater organic carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations are observed in the forests. We provide concrete evidence of deciduous forest retreat unlike the stability observed in the xeromorphic forest/savanna boundary. These results contrast with the expansion of riparian forests recently reported in the same region.

Keywords

Carbon isotopes Cerrado Forest expansion Leaf area index Tropical forests Tropical soils 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Jose´ Carlos Sousa Silva at EMBRAPA Cerrados and Ricardo Flores Haidar, Gabriel Damasco do Vale and Regina Kruse for field assistance and valuable comments. This research is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. DEB-0542912 (W. H.), AW Mellon Foundation (W. H.) and National Science Foundation Grant No. EAR-BE-332051.

References

  1. Balesdent J, Girarden C, Mariotti A (1993) Site-related d13C of tree leaves and soil organic matter in a temperate forest. Ecology 74:1713–1721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benner R, Fogel ML, Sprague K, Hodson RE (1987) Depletion of 13C in lignin and its implications for stable carbon isotope studies. Nature 329:708–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Behling H (2002) South and Southeast Brazilian grasslands during late Quaternary times: a synthesis. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 177:19–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Behling H, Pillar VP, Bauermann SG (2005) Late Quaternary grassland (Campos), gallery forest, fire and climate dynamics, studied by pollen, charcoal and multivariate analysis of the Sao Francisco de Assis core in western Rio Grande do Sul (southern Brazil). Rev Palaeobot Palynology 133:235–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bond WJ, Midgley GF, Woodward FI (2003) The importance of low atmospheric CO2 and fire in promoting the spread of grasslands and savannas. Global Change Biol 9:973–982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boutton TW, Archer SR, Midwood AJ, Zitzer SF, Bol R (1998) δ13C values of soil organic carbon and their use in documenting vegetation change in a subtropical savanna ecosystem. Geoderma 82:5–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bremner JM, Mulvaney CS (1982) Nitrogen total. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis: chemical and microbiological properties vol. 2, 2nd edn. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp 595–624Google Scholar
  8. Day PR (1965) Particle fractionation and particle-size analysis. In: Black CA (ed) Methods of soil analysis. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp 545–567Google Scholar
  9. Dümig A, Schad P, Rumpel C, Dignac M, Kögel-Knabner I (2008) Araucaria forest expansion on grassland in the southern Brazilian highlands as revealed by 14C and δ13C studies. Geoderma 145:143–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Durigan G, Ratter JA (2006) Successional changes in cerrado and cerrado/forest ecotonal vegetation in western Sao Paulo State, Brazil, 1962–2000. Edinburgh J Bot 63:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ehleringer JR, Cerling TE, Helliker BR (1997) C4 photosynthesis, atmospheric CO2 and climate. Oecologia 112:285–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ehleringer JR, Buchmann N, Flanagan LB (2000) Carbon isotope ratios in belowground carbon cycle processes. Ecol Appl 10:412–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eiten G (1972) The cerrado vegetation of central Brazil. Bot Rev 38:201–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. EMBRAPA (1978) Levantamento de reconhecimento dos solos do Distrito Federal. Boletim Técnico, no. 53, Serviço Nacional de Levantamento e Conservação de Solos. Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  15. Farquhar GD, O’Leary MH, Berry JA (1982) On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the inter-cellular carbon-dioxide concentration in leaves. Aust J Plant Physiol 9:121–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Felfili JM, Nascimento ART, Fagg CW, Meirelles EM (2007) Floristic composition and community structure of a seasonally deciduous forest on limestone outcrops in Central Brazil. Rev Bras Bot 30:611–621Google Scholar
  17. Franco AC, Bustamante M, Caldas LS, Goldstein G, Meinzer FC, Kozovits AR, Rundel P, Coradin VTR (2005) Leaf functional traits of neotropical savanna trees in relation to seasonal water deficit. Trees 129:326–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Funk J, Vitousek PM (2007) Resource use efficiency and plant invasion in low-resource systems. Nature 446:1078–1081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Furley PA (1992) Nature and dynamics of forest-savanna boundaries. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. Furley PA (1999) The nature and diversity of neotropical savanna vegetation with particular reference to the Brazilian cerradões. Global Ecol Biogeogr 8:223–241Google Scholar
  21. Furley PA (2007) Tropical savannas and associated forests: vegetation and plant ecology. Prog Phys Geogr 31:203–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Furley PA, Grace J, Meir P (2006) Tropical savannas and seasonally dry forests: vegetation and environment. Special issue. J Biogeogr 33:164Google Scholar
  23. Goedert WJ, Schermack MJ, Freitas FC (2002) Estado de compactação do solo em áreas cultivadas no sistema de plantio direto. Pesq Agropec Bras 37:233–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goodland R (1971) A physiognomic analysis of the “cerrado” vegetation of Central Brasil. J Ecol 59:411–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haidar RF (2007) Fitossociologia, diversidade e sua relação com variáveis ambientais em florestas estacionais do bioma Cerrado no planalto central e nordeste do Brasil. Universidade de Brasília, DissertationGoogle Scholar
  26. Haridasan M (1992) Observations on soils, foliar nutrient concentrations and floristic composition of cerradão sensu stricto and cerradão communities in central Brazil. In: Furley PA, Proctor J, Ratter JA (eds) Nature and dynamics of forest-savanna boundaries. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 171–184Google Scholar
  27. Haridasan M (2001) Nutrient cycling as a function of landscape and biotic characteristics in the cerrado of central Brazil. In: McClain ME, Victoria RL, Richey JE (eds) Biogeochemistry of the amazon basin and its role in a changing world. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 68–83Google Scholar
  28. Hoffmann WA, Silva ER, da Machado GC, Bucci SJ, Scholz FG, Goldstein G, Meinzer FC (2005) Seasonal leaf dynamics across a tree density gradient in a Brazilian savanna. Oecologia 145:307–316CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Klink CA, Joly CA (1989) Identification and distribution of C3 and C4 grasses in open and shaded habitats in Sao Paulo state, Brazil. Biotropica 21:30–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Krull ES, Bestland EA, Gates WP (2002) Soil organic matter decomposition and turnover in a tropical ultisol: evidence from δ13C, δ15N and geochemistry. Radiocarbon 44:93–112Google Scholar
  31. Ledru MP (1992) Late Quaternary environmental and climatic changes in central Brazil. Quatern Res 39:90–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lisi CS, Tomazello M, Botoss PC, Roig FA, Maria VRB, Ferreira-Fedele L, Voigt ARA (2008) Tree-ring formation, radial increment periodicity, and phenology of tree species from a seasonal semi-deciduous forest in southeast Brazil. Iawa J 29:189–207Google Scholar
  33. Marimon BH, Haridasan M (2005) Comparação da vegetação arbórea e características edáficas de um cerradão e um cerrado sensu stricto em áreas adjacentes sobre solo distrófico no leste de Mato Grosso. Acta Bot Bras 19:913–926Google Scholar
  34. Marino BD, McElroy MB, Salawitch RJ, Spaulding WG (1992) Glacial-to-interglacial variations in the carbon isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2. Nature 357:461–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martinelli LA, Pessenda LCR, Espinoza E (1996) Carbon-13 depth variation in soil of Brazil and relations with climate changes during the Quaternary. Oecologia 106:376–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mayle F (2006) The Late Quaternary biogeographical history of South American seasonally dry tropical forests: insights from palaeo-ecological data. In: Pennington T, Lewis GP, Ratter JA (eds) Neotropical savannas and seasonally dry forests. Systematics Association, CRC-Taylor and Francis, pp 395–416Google Scholar
  37. Mehlich A (1953) Determination of P, Ca, Mg, K, Na and NH4. North Carolina Soil Test Division, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, RaleighGoogle Scholar
  38. Mendonça RC, Felfili JM, Walter BMT, Silva-Júnior MC, Rezende AV, Filgueira T, Nogueira PE (1998) A flora vascular do cerrado. In: Sano SM, Almeida SP (eds) Cerrado ambiente e flora. EMBRAPA, Planaltina, pp 279–556Google Scholar
  39. Miles L, Newton AC, DeFries RS, Ravilious C, May I, Kapos V, Gordon JL (2006) A global overview of the conservation status of tropical dry forests. J Biogeogr 33:491–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Netto PB, Mecenas VV, Cardoso ES (2005) APA de Cafuringa: a última fronteira natural do DF. Secretaria do Meio Ambiente e Recursos HídricosGoogle Scholar
  41. Oliveira-Filho AT, Shepherd GJ, Martins FR, Stubblebine WH (1989) Environmental factors affecting physiognomical and floristic variation in a Cerrado of Central Brazil. J Trop Ecol 5:413–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Oliveira-Filho AT, Ratter JA (2002) Vegetation physiognomies and woody flora of the Cerrado Biome. In: Oliveira PS, Marquis RJ (eds) The Cerrados of Brazil: ecology and natural history of a Neotropical savanna. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 91–120Google Scholar
  43. Palmer AR, Van Rooyen AF (1998) Detecting vegetation change in the southern Kalahari using Landsat TM data. J Arid Environ 3:143–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pennington RT, Prado DE, Pendry CA (2000) Neotropical seasonally dry forests and quaternary vegetation changes. J Biogeogr 27:261–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pennington RT, Lavin M, Prado DE, Pendry CA, Pell S, Butterworth CA (2004) Historical climate change and speciation: neotropical seasonally dry forest plants show patterns of both Tertiary and Quaternary diversification. Philos Trans R Soc 359:515–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pennington T, Lewis G, Ratter JA (2006) Neotropical savannas and seasonally dry forests: plant diversity, biogeography, and conservation. Systematics association, special volume series 69. CRC-Taylor and Francis, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  47. Puyravaud JP, Pascal JP, Dufour C (1994) Ecotone structure as an indicator of changing forest-savanna boundaries (Linganamakki Region, southern India). J Biogeogr 21:581–593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reatto A, Martins ES, Farias MFR, Silva AV, Carvalho Junior OA (2004) Mapa pedológico digital—SIG atualizado do Distrito Federal Escala 1: 100.000 e uma síntese do texto explicativo. EMBRAPA Cerrados, PlanaltinaGoogle Scholar
  49. Ribeiro JF, Silva JCS, Batmanian GJ (1985) Fitossociologia de tipos fisionômicos de cerrado em Planaltina, DF. Rev Bras Bot 8:131–142Google Scholar
  50. Ribeiro JF, Walter BMT (1998) Fitofisionomias do Bioma Cerrado. In: Sano S, Almeida S (eds) Cerrado: ambiente e flora. EMBRAPA Cerrados, Brasília, pp 89–166Google Scholar
  51. Ruggiero PGC, Batalha MA, Pivello VR, Meiralles ST (2002) Soil-vegetation relationships in cerrado (Brazilian savanna) and semideciduous forest, Southeastern Brazil. Plant Ecol 160:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sanaiotti TM, Martinelli LA, Victoria RL, Trumbore SE, Camargo PB (2002) Past vegetation changes in Amazon savannas determined using carbon isotopes of soil organic matter. Biotropica 34:2–16Google Scholar
  53. Silva LCR, Sternberg L, Haridasan M, Hoffmann WA, Miralles-Wilhelm F, Franco AC (2008) Expansion of gallery forests into central Brazilian savannas. Global Change Biol 14:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Silva LCR, Anand M, Oliveira JM, Pillar VD (2009) Past century changes in Araucaria angustifolia (Bertol.) Kuntze water use efficiency and growth in forest and grassland ecosystems of southern Brazil: implications for forest expansion. Glob Chang Biol 5:2387–2396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smith BN, Epstein S (1971) Two categories of 13C/12C ratios for higher plants. Plant Physiol 47:380–394CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Vitousek P, Matson P (1984) Mechanisms of nitrogen retention in forest ecosystems: a field experiment. Science 225:51–52CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Vourlitis GL, Priante Filho N, Hayashi MMS, Nogueira JS, Caseiro FT, Holanda-Campelo J (2001) Seasonal variations in the net ecosystem CO2 exchange of a mature Amazonian transitional tropical forest (cerradão). Funct Ecol 15:388–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Waibel L (1948) Vegetation and land use in the planalto central of Brazil. Geogr Rev 38:529–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Walkley A, Black IA (1934) An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Sci 37:29–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Williams JW, Shuman BN, WebbIII T, Bartlein PJ, Leduc PL (2004) Late-quaternary vegetation dynamics in north America: scaling from taxa to biome. Ecol Monogr 74:309–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas C. R. Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mundayatan Haridasan
    • 3
  • Leonel S. L. Sternberg
    • 4
  • Augusto C. Franco
    • 5
  • William A. Hoffmann
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Forest EngineeringUniversity of Brasilia, Brazil and Embrapa Cerrados Agricultural Research CenterPlanaltinaBrazil
  2. 2.Global Ecological Change (GEC) Laboratory, Department of Environmental BiologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  3. 3.Department of EcologyUniversity of BrasiliaBrasiliaBrazil
  4. 4.Departmentof BiologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  5. 5.Department of BotanyUniversity of BrasiliaBrasiliaBrazil
  6. 6.Department of Plant BiologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations