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SP4-RM1 Plant biodiversity and potential vegetation carbon sequestration under land-use and climate change



Caatinga: knowing it helps preserving it

We developed a booklet in 2014, which explains general features and plants of the Caatinga biome. It is directed towards local stakeholder readers and has already been distributed during stakeholder education days in 2014. You find a copy of the cartilha (in Portuguese language) here.


Main Results (Aug 2014): 

  • The biodiversity of vascular plants and organic carbon stock in soil and vegetation decreases with higher grazing impact in Caatinga. However, the population structure of the dominant tree species indicates a current increase in forest cover. This indicates that the current grazing regime is in most parts of the area at a sustainable level. Species loss may be rather a consequence of historic overgrazing.
  • Soil-covering bromeliads are the plant group which is most severely affected by grazing. A decrease in this taxon causes also declining populations of amphibian and reptile which often directly depend on bromeliads. Moreover, some tree species such as the economically important Umbuzeiro (Spondias tuberosa) show a complete lack of natural recruitment.
  • Based on these results, the establishment of conservation areas, such as Serra da Canoa other natural reserves, is a good measure to maintain biodiversity and carbon stocks of the area. The populations of endangered tree species should in addition be protected and increased by enrichment planting.
  • Agrarian and secondary habitats (small water bodies such as ponds) may contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services of the area when properly managed. The establishment of species-rich field margins and low-input agriculture seem efficient measures for this aim. 



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