Plant Ecology

, 205:261 | Cite as

Forest recovery after swidden cultivation across a 40-year chronosequence in the Atlantic forest of southern Bahia, Brazil

  • Daniel Piotto
  • Florencia Montagnini
  • Wayt Thomas
  • Mark Ashton
  • Chadwick Oliver
Article

Abstract

Tree species composition and structure of a 40-year chronosequence of secondary forests was compared with old-growth forests in southern Bahia, Brazil. Twelve stands were randomly selected that represented three age classes: 10, 25, and 40 year old with four replications in each class. All stands selected had been established after abandonment from swidden cultivation and were surrounded by old-growth forests. In every stand, ten 0.01-ha transects were established and all stems (≥5 cm diameter at breast height) were measured and identified. Results were compared with the dataset of two neighboring old-growth sites. Mean diameter, total height, and stand basal area increased with age. Number of trees/ha peaked in 40 year old stands. The results showed that secondary forests in this region take much more than 40 years to recover the structure of old-growth forests. In contrast, species richness recovery was rapid with a continuous accumulation of species with age in secondary forests. Species richness and diversity increased with age as did similarity between secondary stands and old-growth stands. More than half of the species found in the 40 year old stands were shared with the neighboring old-growth forests. However, species richness and diversity were higher in old growth sites.

Keywords

Secondary forest Structure Composition Tree diversity Tropical wet forest 

Supplementary material

11258_2009_9615_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (83 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 83 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Piotto
    • 1
  • Florencia Montagnini
    • 1
  • Wayt Thomas
    • 2
  • Mark Ashton
    • 1
  • Chadwick Oliver
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.The New York Botanical GardenBronxUSA

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