Understory vegetation in the Atlantic Rain Forest

Unterwuchsvegetation im Atlantischen Küstenregenwald

Project description

Within the BMBF funded project DINARIO (Climate change, landscape dynamics, land use and natural resources in the Atlantic Forest of Rio de Janeiro) are being studied the floristic composition and the diversity of ferns, Begoniaceae and Piperaceae along abiotic gradients in the Atlantic Rain Forest in the Federal State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. All three plant groups are typical plants growing regularly in the understory of the Atlantic Rain Forest and the understanding of the distribution of this plants seems to be essential for a more profound knowledge of this highly diverse ecosystems and can particularly be helpful with regard to conservation.

Figure: Typical understory vegetation in the high montane forest area with Elaphoglossum vagans.


Research questions

1. How does species composition change within the taxonomic groups along abiotic gradients?
2. Where are certain species from the selected plant groups particularly abundant or dominant within the study area?
3. Are there any correlations of topographic or abiotic parameters of the study sites with the occurrence of individual species or species combinations from these taxonomic groups?


The study is being carried out in the submontane, montane and high montane forest of the Atlantic Rain Forest in the Serra dos Órgãos in three different nature reserves: the Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos (PARNASO), the Parque Estadual dos Três Picos (PETP) and the Estação Ecológica do Paraíso (EEP).

Figure: Location of the 114 plots established in three study areas in the Serra dos Órgãos in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In this study area the flora of the three floristic groups is being characterized along an altitudinal gradient between 200m and 2100m within114 sample sites (100m² each). These sample sites are beeing established along different transects in the study region. In these sample sites all terrestrial individuals are registered as well as trunk epiphytes, growing up to a height of two meters above ground.


Figure: Field work in the Serra dos Órgãos in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


This project (portug.: Diversidade e especialização ao habitat das Pteridófitas, Begoniaceae e Piperaceae na região da Serra dos Órgãos, RJ, Brasil) is a registerd project by the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, Portuguese: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) in cooperation with Lana da Silva Sylvestre (UFRJ-Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).

This project is the PhD thesis of Rolf Engelmann and is founded by the BMBF.

letzte Änderung: 31.03.2015