The value of agricultural landscape for tropical trees

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Athayde, Eduardo A.
Cancian, Leonardo F.
Morellato, Leonor Patricia C.

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Growing demands for food, fuel and fiber are driving the intensification and expansion of agricultural land use through a corresponding displacement of native forests, woodlands, savanna and shrublands in the Neotropics. In this modified landscape, it isn't clear what role farmland can play in supporting biodiversity through preservation of important ecosystem elements at a fine scale. Native species able to establish and survive in this modified landscape are considered generalists. However, many native species are restricted to remnant areas of native vegetation near plantations. Therefore, these agricultural landscapes constitute an environmental mosaic, with an anthropogenic matrix and associated areas with native vegetation at different successional stages, which influence the distribution of native species at the mesoscale. In that sense, we demonstrate that areas of native vegetation increase the diversity and richness of native tree species in the agricultural landscape, where the distribution of these species is related to environmental gradients, especially soil types and management. Therefore, the present work highlights the value of remnants of native vegetation for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes. We also demonstrate that scattered trees are a prominent feature of agricultural landscapes and of key importance to the development of management and conservation plans.



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Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes of Southeastern Brazil, p. 87-111.