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Mangrove forests associated with salt flats: a case study from southeast Brazil

Mario Luiz Gomes Soares, Filipe de Oliveira Chaves, Gustavo Calderucio Duque Estrada, Viviane Fernandez

Abstract


In this study, forest structure variability of a mangrove associated to a salt flat in Sepetiba Bay (SE-Brazil) was assessed. Forest structure and interstitial water salinity were measured in 32 plots established along three transects ranging from the margin of the estuary to the transition with the salt flat. Structural development was shown to be highly variable, with mean height ranging from 0.54 m to 7.96 m, mean diameter ranging from 1.58 cm to 9.46 cm and trunk density ranging from 2,733 live trunks.ha-1 to 106,667 live trunks.ha-1. Forest structure variability responded to the gradient of increasing interstitial water salinity towards the salt flat, with mean height and diameter decreasing and trunks density increasing progressively in the same direction. The following pattern of species dominance was observed: Rhizophora mangle near the estuary margin; Laguncularia racemosa at the transition with the salt flat; and Avicennia schaueriana on intermediate zones. The assessment of structural characteristics of mangrove forests and their relationships with natural stressors (e.g., salinity) contribute to better understand the dynamics of the species along coastal plains associated with preserved salt flats, such as the one found in Guaratiba.

Keywords


Mangrove; Phytosociology; Salt Flats; Ecological Gradients

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s1679-87592017083006502

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