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Forest Ecology and Management
Volume 501, 2021, 119659

Use of physiological attributes to select native forest species for forest restoration in the southern Atlantic forest biome, Brazil

Marllos S. de Limaa, Maristela M. Araujoa, Suelen C. Aimia, Vanessa V.T. de Oliveiraa, Álvaro L.P. Berghettia, Nayara F. Nascimentoa, Camila P. Taroucob

Department of Forest Sciences, Federal University of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Brazil.


In subtropical regions, the selection of species for restoration is conducted as a part of phytosociological studies. This may be complemented by physiological characterization of the species in response to light. The objectives of this study were to identify the physiological attributes performance of native forest species that are conducive to restoration and to identify groups of species for planting in altered areas, under different light intensities south of the Atlantic Forest biome, in Brazil. Seedlings of 12 native species were cultivated in the nursery in full sun and shade, and the net CO2 assimilation rate (A), water use efficiency (WUE), and quantum yield potential of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) were determined for these seedlings. Cluster analysis allowed the differentiation of these species into three groups (Cl-I, Cl-II, and Cl-III) based on the similarity of physiological attributes. In Cl-I, we identified species with an A of 7 μmol CO2 m-2·s-1 and high Fv/Fm values when plants were growing in the shade. The Cl-II group had the highest A (12 μmol CO2 m-2·s-1 ) and WUE. The Cl-III group demonstrated an A of 5 μmol CO2 m-2·s-1 when the species was growing in full sun or under shade. The results demonstrate that forest species exhibit differences in terms of their A values in response to exposure to varying light intensities (that is, shade or full sun). The analysis of eco-physiological characteristics is fundamental in identifying the most suitable species for planting in forest restoration; this allows for adequate planning of recovery projects. Citharexylum montevidensisInga marginata, and Luehea divaricata are the species that were used for initial planting in full sun, which may complement the low density of Ceiba speciosa and Inga vera. For enrichment conditions in the southern Atlantic Forest biome, Cedrela fissilisHandroanthus heptaphyllusVitex megapotamicaOcotea puberulaCasearia sylvestrisAspidosperma olivaceum, and Cupania vernalis are considered most appropriate for restoration.

Keywords: Successional groups, Light levels, net assimilation of CO2, Water use efficiency, Chlorophyll a fluorescence.

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