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Structure and floristic composition as indicators of restoration success in an urban riparian forest along the Das Velhas river in Southeastern Brazil

Londe, Vinícius, de Sousa, Hildeberto C.
Journal of sustainable forestry 2017 v.36 no.5 pp. 503-515
Leucaena leucocephala, botanical composition, ecological function, erosion control, floods, herbs, indigenous species, introduced species, phytosociology, riparian forests, rivers, species recruitment, trees, weeds, Brazil
This study evaluated a 5-year-old riparian forest in an anthropogenically affected region along the Das Velhas River in southeastern Brazil, restored with the purposes of erosion control and other ecosystem functions and to monitor indicators of structure and composition. The forest was monitored via data collection of the diameter and height of trees for phytosociological analysis, including the identification of species and their classification with regard to life form, origin, weed-status, and successional stage. The forest was not very structurally developed and, overall, 111 species were recorded consisting of 65.8% herbs, 24.3% trees, and 9.9% other types of life forms. About 70.9% of species were natives, 29.1% exotics, and 65% weeds. The high abundance of exotic species and weed species (some aggressive such as Leucaena leucocephala) of various life forms may negatively affect the restoration success in terms of seedling recruitment and diversity of native species, but may constitute a neutral or even positive accomplishment for erosion control (with species composition as a secondary effect). Results also reinforce the knowledge that choice of species for restoration must be in accordance with major local filters (e.g., floods), and areas within urban matrices may deserve special attention, including periodic management actions to control undesirable species.