“Cerrado” restoration by direct seeding: field establishment and initial growth of 75 trees, shrubs and grass species

Abstract

The coexistence of grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees characterizes savannas; therefore, to restore such ecosystems one should consider re-introducing all these growth forms. Currently, little is known about field establishment of most “Cerrado” (Brazilian savanna) species that could be used for restoration purposes. Most knowledge on restoration is focused on planting seedlings of tree species from forest physiognomies. Alternatively, direct seeding can be an appropriate method to re-introduce plants of different life forms to restore savannas. We evaluated the initial establishment success under field conditions of 75 “Cerrado” native species (50 trees, 13 shrubs, and 12 grasses) in direct seeding experiments in four sites in Central Brazil for 2.5 years. For that, we tagged and measured tree and larger shrub species and estimated ground cover by small shrub and grass species. Sixty-two species became established (42 trees, 11 shrubs and 9 grasses) under field conditions. Thirty-eight of the 48 tagged species had relatively high emergence rates (>10%) and 41 had high seedling survival (>60%) in the first year. Among grasses and small shrub species, Andropogon fastigiatus Sw., Aristida riparia Trin., Schizachyrium sanguineum (Retz.) Alston, Lepidaploa aurea (Mart. ex DC.) H.Rob., Stylosanthes capitata Vogel, S. macrocephala M.B.Ferreira & Sousa Costa, Achyrocline satureioides (Lam.) DC. and Trachypogon spicatus (L.f.) Kuntze had the greatest initial establishment success (up to 30% soil cover). The data on harvesting period, processing mode and field establishment for these 75 species can be readily used in restoration efforts in the “Cerrado”.

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Acknowledgements

These experiments were carried out under ICMBio research permit number 33390-3. We thank several students from Restaura-“Cerrado” research group for assistance; A. Alboyadjian for English review; Fundação Grupo o Boticário de Proteção à Natureza; ICMBio; CNPq (Edital MCT/CNPq/CT-Agro 26/2010); and Embrapa/CNA partnership of the Projeto Biomas for financial support.

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Correspondence to Keiko Fueta Pellizzaro.

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Pellizzaro, K.F., Cordeiro, A.O.O., Alves, M. et al. “Cerrado” restoration by direct seeding: field establishment and initial growth of 75 trees, shrubs and grass species. Braz. J. Bot 40, 681–693 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40415-017-0371-6

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Keywords

  • Direct sowing
  • Ecological restoration
  • Grassland restoration
  • Herbaceous layer
  • Neotropical savanna