Does Linear Canopy Openings in a Lowland Atlantic Tropical Forest Cause Edge Effects on Seedling Communities?


Edge effects and linear canopy openings may change ecological patterns and processes on forests. Here we investigate if these openings in a lowland Brazilian Atlantic forest cause edge effects on seedlings. We sampled seedling communities at forest edges near to two linear canopy openings (gas pipeline and power line) and in interiors far from edges. Comparisons between the seedling communities were performed to access edge effects. Density and basal area patterns were compared using, hierarchical two-way ANOVAs and the number of newly germinated seedlings, mortality and resprouts were compared by one-way ANOVAs. The results showed that edge effects of linear canopy openings affect seedling communities leading to low densities on edges that showed less favorable conditions for arrival, establishment and initial survival. The basal area patterns were not affected by edge effects apparently by the resistance of the seedlings that have more than 4 mm diameter. Therefore, linear canopy openings caused edge effects, which determine low seedling densities on edges. However this pattern is not due to increase mortality on these edges, but probably caused by the reduction on germination and establishment.

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Rodrigues, P. , Iguatemy, M. and Nascimento, M. (2014) Does Linear Canopy Openings in a Lowland Atlantic Tropical Forest Cause Edge Effects on Seedling Communities?. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 945-949. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.415078.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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