iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Growing at the forest edges: how natural regeneration develops under fragmentation

Lhoraynne Pereira Gomes (1)   , Patrícia Borges Dias (2), Henrique Machado Dias (3), Sustanis Horn Kunz (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 15, Issue 4, Pages 248-255 (2022)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3834-015
Published: Jul 19, 2022 - Copyright © 2022 SISEF

Research Articles

Environmental changes caused by edge effects and matrix land use can interfere with plant community resilience and, consequently, alter forest succession. Here, we aimed to (i) investigate whether species composition, density and richness in a forest’s regeneration layer vary in its edge-to-interior gradient and (ii) analyze the relationship between regeneration and local abiotic variables. We conducted the study in the lowland rainforest of the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot at the Córrego Grande Biological Reserve, Espírito Santo state, Brazil. We sampled the regeneration layer in two edge environments with different matrices (forest and road) and the fragmented interior to link vegetation structure with environmental variables. In each environment, we set up 12 plots of 5 × 10 m size and recorded, in each plot, the height and stem base diameter of all living individuals above 50 cm of height and below 2.5 cm of diameter at breast height (1.30 m height). We applied different multivariate analyses to assess the influence of environmental data, such as canopy openness and physical-chemical soil variables. The three environments shared 22 out of the 174 morphospecies recorded, and the forest-side edge had the lowest species richness among all environments. The environmental variables that better explained the distribution of species across the three environments were: canopy openness, soil penetration resistance, zinc, and calcium content. Our results revealed significant environmental differences among the forest edges and the forest interior of the study site, highlighting the relevant role of the forest surrounding matrix for the maintenance of protected remnants.


Seedling, Forest Resilience, Biological Reserve, Environmental Variables

Authors’ address

Lhoraynne Pereira Gomes 0000-0002-8450-207X
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Botnica, Laboratório de Ecologia e Evolução de Plantas - LEEP, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Minas Gerais, CEP 36570-900 (Brazil)
Patrícia Borges Dias 0000-0002-5227-8341
Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Florestais, Núcleo de Pesquisa Científica e Tecnológica em Meio Ambiente, Silvicultura e Ecologia - NUPEMASE, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Brazil)
Henrique Machado Dias 0000-0003-2217-7846
Sustanis Horn Kunz 0000-0001-6937-7787
Departamento de Ciências Florestais e da Madeira, Núcleo de Pesquisa Científica e Tecnológica em Meio Ambiente, Silvicultura e Ecologia - NUPEMASE, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Brazil)

Corresponding author

Lhoraynne Pereira Gomes


Pereira Gomes L, Borges Dias P, Machado Dias H, Horn Kunz S (2022). Growing at the forest edges: how natural regeneration develops under fragmentation. iForest 15: 248-255. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3834-015

Academic Editor

Michele Carbognani

Paper history

Received: Apr 01, 2021
Accepted: May 11, 2022

First online: Jul 19, 2022
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2022
Publication Time: 2.30 months

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