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Community Ecology

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 197–202 | Cite as

Vegetation dynamics on mosaics of Campos and Araucaria forest between 1974 and 1999 in Southern Brazil

  • J. M. OliveiraEmail author
  • V. D. Pillar
Article

Abstract

A mosaic of Campos grassland and Araucaria forest characterizes the vegetation of the Southern Brazilian highland plateau. Palaeoecological evidence indicates that forest expansion over grassland initiated after the mid Holocene, when climate changed towards present day cool and moist conditions. In this paper, we discuss landscape level changes that occurred on vegetation patterns after grazing and fire exclusion in a mosaic of Campos and Araucaria forest in Southern Brazil. The analysis of aerial photographs from 1974 and 1999 showed alterations on grassland communities under grazing and fire exclusion, especially pronounced shrub establishment near the edge of the forest. Considering the change in the cover of vegetation classes relative to the total altered cover in all classes from 1974 to 1999, the most prominent alterations were: 48% from grassland with tussock grasses dominance (GRA) to grassland with shrubs (GSR), 24% from GRA to grassland with tall shrubs (GTS), 16% from GSR to GTS and 9% from GTS to forest (FOR). Considering the alteration relatively to the vegetation cover in 1974, the most relevant changes were: 44% from GSR to GTS and 94% from GTS to FOR. These observations support a directional forest expansion over grassland under grazing and fire exclusion.

Keywords

Aerial photographs Grassland Grazing Fire Forest expansion 

Abbreviations

ANT

anthropogenic vegetation

FOR

forest

GRA

grassland

GSR

grassland with shrubs

GTS

grassland with tall shrubs.

Nomenclature

Cronquist (1984) 

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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2004

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Quantitative Ecology, Department of EcologyFederal University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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