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What is the temporal extension of edge effects on tree growth dynamics? A dendrochronological approach model using Scleronema micranthum (Ducke) Ducke trees of a fragmented forest in the Central Amazon

Albiero-Júnior, Alci, Venegas-González, Alejandro, Botosso, Paulo Cesar, Roig, Fidel Alejandro, Camargo, José Luís Campana, Tomazello-Filho, Mario
Ecological indicators 2019 v.101 pp. 133-142
Scleronema, basal area, climate change, deforestation, dendroclimatology, ecosystem services, edge effects, environmental indicators, growth rings, habitat fragmentation, humans, infrastructure, models, rain forests, tree growth, trees, Amazonia
Although the Amazon Forest comprises the world’s largest rainforest, providing fundamental ecosystem services to human well-being, vicissitudes imposed by deforestation, climate change, widespread use of fire and development of new infrastructure make the region critically vulnerable to the consequences of the creation of new forest edges. In this forest fragmentation scenario, temporal assessment of edge effects influences throughout the life of the trees become necessary for a better understanding of how species are affected and react when exposed to altered environments. In this study, we evaluated the temporal influence of the edge effect on the growth dynamics of Scleronema micranthum (Ducke) Ducke by tree-ring analysis based on basal area increment and release events. This species is one of the most frequent tree species of terra firme type of forest in Central Amazonia at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragment Project (BDFFP) study sites. The results showed that edge effects changed the growth dynamics of the trees for at least 10 years after the disturbance, inducing an 18% reduction in tree growth during this period, and records of increased release events. We concluded that growth rings of edge trees are a valuable bioindicators for evaluating the temporal extent of edge effects, and therefore, they must be considered as relevant ecological indicators of historical environmental changes and forest fragmentation, promoting new insights into the resilience ability of trees when exposed to forest fragmentation processes.