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Do we need intervention after pine tree removal? The use of different management techniques to enhance Cerrado natural regeneration

Zanzarini, Vagner, Zanchetta, Denise, Fidelis, Alessandra
Perspectives in ecology and conservation 2019
Pinus, biomass, cerrado, indigenous species, introduced plants, natural regeneration, plant communities, plantations, soil, surveys, Brazil
Some Cerrado areas are suppressed by pine tree cultivation. These monoculture processes can exclude the fire presence and inhibit native species development. In Southeastern Brazil, thousands of hectares were planted with these exotic trees 44 years ago, and nowadays, efforts to remove these plantations and restore the native vegetation are being implemented. However, little is known about the regeneration of Cerrado after pine removal. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the native plant community of Cerrado, using some techniques to enhance species natural regeneration three years after pine trees removal in areas where plantations existed since 1966. Before treatments application, surveys of the herbaceous and woody community were conducted, followed by the treatment application (fire and the removal of needles) as a management intervention. Moreover, we established control plots, with no intervention. Four and 30 months after treatment application, the herbaceous and woody vegetation, as well as the dead biomass and bare soil components were monitored to observe their regeneration. The pine removal contributed to species development and both techniques contributed to soil exposition, opening space for colonization and species to resprout. The woody and herbaceous group increased in cover, mostly in fire plots, due to the soil exposition increasing light and contributing to species development.