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Soil-Vegetation Relationship in Quartzitic and Ferruginous Brazilian Rocky Outcrops

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Campo rupestre is a kind of Brazilian rocky outcrop with high biodiversity and many endemic and threatened species. It occurs mainly in the Espinhaço Range in a contact region between Cerrado and/or Caatinga and Atlantic Forest. The Espinhaço Range
           1 3 Folia Geobotanica Journal of the Institute of Botany,Academy of Sciences of the CzechRepublic ISSN 1211-9520 Folia GeobotDOI 10.1007/s12224-013-9154-4 Soil-Vegetation Relationship in Quartziticand Ferruginous Brazilian Rocky Outcrops Maria Cristina Teixeira Braga Messias,Mariangela Garcia Praça Leite, JoãoAugusto Alves Meira Neto, AlessandraRodrigues Kozovits, et al.           1 3 Your article is protected by copyright andall rights are held exclusively by Institute ofBotany, Academy of Sciences of the CzechRepublic. This e-offprint is for personaluse only and shall not be self-archived inelectronic repositories. If you wish to self-archive your work, please use the acceptedauthor’s version for posting to your ownwebsite or your institution’s repository. Youmay further deposit the accepted author’sversion on a funder’s repository at a funder’srequest, provided it is not made publiclyavailable until 12 months after publication.  Soil-Vegetation Relationship in Quartziticand Ferruginous Brazilian Rocky Outcrops Maria Cristina Teixeira Braga Messias  & Mariangela Garcia Praça Leite  & João Augusto Alves Meira Neto  & Alessandra Rodrigues Kozovits  & Ricardo Tavares # Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2013 Abstract  Campo rupestre  is a kind of Brazilian rocky outcrop with high biodiversityand many endemic and threatened species. Itoccurs mainly inthe Espinhaço Range in a contact region between Cerrado and/or Caatinga and Atlantic Forest. The EspinhaçoRange is recognizedasa regionwiththe highest floristic diversityinSouthAmerica andwith many endemic species, most of which are associated with rocky outcrop environ-ments. These, among other peculiarities, recently granted the Espinhaço Range thestatus of Biosphere Reserve. The relationship between soil and vegetation was studiedin  campo rupestre  areas with quartzite and itabirite rocks. Three habitats in bothlithologies were defined by geomorphology as: 1. Slopes with grasslands; 2. Plateauswith grasslands and 3. Valleys with woody savannas. In each lithology, 30 plots(10 × 10 m), 10 in each habitat, were defined. The species and their respective coveragewere recorded and soil was sampled to perform chemical and physical analyses. Theanalyzed soils were similar in being sandy, acidic and with low fertility. Nevertheless, Folia Geobot DOI 10.1007/s12224-013-9154-4M. C. T. B. Messias ( * ) :  A. R. KozovitsDepartamento de Biodiversidade Evolução e Meio Ambiente (DEBIO), Universidade Federal de OuroPreto, Campus Universitário, 35400-000 Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazile-mail: e-mail: cristinabotanica@gmail.comM. G. P. LeiteDepartamento de Geologia, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, BrazilJ. A. A. Meira NetoDepartmento de Biologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, BrazilR. TavaresDepartamento de Matemática, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil  they exhibited differences in chemical and physical properties. Altogether there were272 species, belonging to 70 families. The canonical correspondence analysis of soilvariables and species coverage showed a clear segregation of lithological sites duemainly to the exchangeable content of Ca, Cu, Mg, Mn and S; soil particle size  –   centraltendency and sorting; and the percentage of silt, fine soil and bare rocks. A strongcorrelation between plant species coverage and soil properties was also found. Keywords  Ferruginous camposrupestres .Metalliferoussoil.Plant-soilrelationships.Rockyoutcropvegetation Plant nomenclature  Forzza et al. (2012) Introduction Mountain areas are recognized centers of endemism and diversity, particularly in thetropics (Sarmiento 2002).  Campo rupestre  is a kind of Brazilian montane savanna occurring mainly in the Espinhaço Range. The Espinhaço Range is recognized as oneof the regions with the highest floristic diversity in South America, having more than30 % of Brazil ’ s endemic species, most of which are associated with rocky outcropenvironments (Giulietti et al. 1997). These, among other peculiarities, recentlygranted the Espinhaço Range the status of Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO 2005). Campo rupestre , according to Harley and Simons (1986), defines the Brazilian rockyoutcrop fields found most commonly on quartzite-sandstone substrate; although thisterminology is used to refer to similar phytophysiognomies on other kinds of rockysubstrate such as, granitic-gneiss (Queiroz et al. 1996) or itabirite (Mourão andStehmann 2007). In the Quadrilátero Ferrifero, Southeastern Brazil,  campo rupestre also occur frequently in itabirite rock areas, some with duricrusts, known as  cangas .Quadrilátero Ferrifero is an area rich in economically valuable ores, mainly iron ore,subjected to irrecoverable degradation by opencast mining (Jacobi et al. 2007).Every  campo rupestre  soil is sandy, shallow and poor in nutrients. However,the geology influences the content of nutrients and the level of toxic elements(Benites et al. 2007). In addition, geomorphology also changes the soil char-acteristics, like depth and drainage (Messias et al. 2011). For instance, seasonalwaterlogging may be found in the plateaus (Messias et al. 2011), as well as theoccurrence of rock pools or ephemeral small ponds in rock depressions (Jacobiet al. 2007), contrasting with the xeric environment in other kinds of landform.So, there are different communities in  campos rupestres , depending on theenvironment features (Jacobi et al. 2007; Porembski 2007). Even though many authors suggest that the flora in  campos rupestres  depends onthe characteristics of the soil, little is known about that. Only one study correlatingsoil properties with species abundance in  campos rupestres  was found, but in a restricted area, with few types of habitat (Vincent and Meguro 2008). According tothis study, there was a strong correlation between plant species abundance and soil properties, where the species distribution was determined mainly by nutrients andheavy metal contents, especially Cu, Zn and Pb. By comparing the soil analyses in M.C.T.B. Messias et al.  different ferruginous and quartzitic rocky outcrop sites (Meguro et al. 1994; Beniteset al. 2007; Conceição et al. 2007; Vincent and Meguro 2008), remarkable differences were found in physical and chemical soil properties for both quartzite and ferruginoussoils, suggesting the necessity of more research to clarify the relationship of vegeta-tion and soil properties. Mining activities have caused great destruction to thisstill poorly known ecosystem, suppressing plant species or populations that evolved in such a particular environment (Jacobi et al. 2007). Soil-vegetationrelationship studies are fundamental to establish conservation strategies, mainlycriteria for the fragment conservation of these areas and also to support reclamation projects. This research aimed to investigate which soil featuresdetermine vegetation differences in different lithotypes (quartzite and itabirite)and landform habitats of   campos rupestres . Methods  Study Site  This study was carried out in the Municipalities of Ouro Preto (itabirite plots) at 20°10 ′  S and 43°31 ′  W and Mariana (quartzite plots) at 20°13 ′  S and 43°24 ′  W,Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil, varying from 890 to 1,250 m a.s.l. Thisarea belongs to Samarco Mineração S.A. and is part of the Serra de Ouro Preto,South of Espinhaço Range, part of the Alegria synclinal. The ferruginous rocks belong to the Cauê Formation, of the Itabira Group and Minas Supergroup, whilethe quartzite belongs to the Maquiné Group, Rio das Velhas Supergroup (Dorr 1969). The climate according to Köppen is Cwb, i.e., mesothermic, with a rainysummer during November-March and a dry winter (Nimer  1989). The annualmean rainfall is 1,250 mm and the annual mean temperature is around 20°C.According to the Brazilian Soil Classification System (EMBRAPA 1999), the soil inthese areas was classified as  Neossolos litólicos , which corresponds to the Entisol order of the US Soil Taxonomy (USDA 1998) and to the Leptosols of the FAO soil classifi-cation system (FAO 1998).The  campos rupestres  areas, with different kinds of rock (itabirite andquartzite), were stratified in three different habitats, defined by geomorphologyas: 1. Sloped areas with bare rocks, near the mountain summit, with grasslands;2. Plateaus, with no more than 10 % slope inclination, with grasslands; 3.Valleys or depressions in the lower and/or concave parts of the slopes, withwoody savannas. In each lithology, thirty 10 × 10 m plots, ten in each habitat,were defined. The grasslands in the sloped areas, established on itabirite (ISG),showed bare rocks with patterns similar to banded iron formations (BIFs);typical of raw itabirite. The grasslands on the plateaus (IPG) showed duricrusts,developed by the lateritic chemical weathering of itabirite. The woody savannason itabirite (IWS) also had  cangas  partially covered by colluvial soil. Thesloped grassland areas on quartzite (QSG) showed a great amount of smooth bare rocks, with shallow soil occupying gaps between the rocks, or formingsmall pools in rock depressions. The grassland plateaus in the quartzitic areas(QPG) were comprised of a sandy shallow and continuous soil with almost no Soil-Vegetation Relationship in Rocky Outcrops
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