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Effects of annual fires on the production of fleshy fruits eaten by birds in a Brazilian Amazonian savanna

  • Tânia M. Sanaiotti (a1) and William E. Magnusson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2009

This study describes changes in the numbers of plant species fruiting during six years in I ha of Amazonian savanna on the right bank of the Tapajós River, Brazil. The work was based on fleshy fruits from tree and shrub-layer species eaten by birds. The area was burned in the first two years, protected during the following two years and burned again in the last two years. The number of tree species fruiting did not differ significantly between years with and without fire. The number of shrub-layer species fruiting was markedly reduced in years with fire, but the responses varied between species. Data on changes in shrub cover after two consecutive years of fire indicate that species also respond differently in terms of biomass lost due to fires. The two most abundant genera of shrubs, Miconia and Myrcia, had their cover reduced by up to 95% and 72% respectively. The area made available by the loss of shrubs was occupied mainly by the grass Paspalum carinatum. The fires and the decrease in the availability of fruits occurred during the season in which most species of birds breed. An interval of less than three years between fires is insufficient for shrub-layer species to recover.


Este estudo descreve mudancas no número de espécies de plantas frutificando durante seis anos em um hectare de savana amazônica à margem direita do Rio Tapajós, Brasil. O estudo baseou-se em espécies arbóreas e espécies do estrato arbustivo com frutos carnosos consumidos por aves. A área foi queimada nos dois primeiros anos, protegida de fogo nos dois anos seguintes e queimada nos dois últimos anos. O número de espécies arbóreas frutificando nāo diferiu entre anos com queimada e anos protegidos de fogo. A frutificaçāo das espécies arbustivas e herbáceas sofreu uma diminuiçāo drástica nos anos com queimada. Porém, as respostas variaram entre espécies. Dados sobre mudanças na área de cobertura de moitas após dois anos consecutivos de fogo indicam que as espécies respondem diferentemente em relaçāo a biomassa reduzida pela queimada. Os dois gêneros arbustivos mais abundantes, Miconia e Myrcia, tiveram suas áreas reduzidas em ate 95% e 72% respectivamente. As áreas reduzidas das moitas foram ocupadas principalmente pelo capim Paspalum carinatum. O peníodo das queimadas e a diminuiçāo na disponibilidade de frutos occoreu durante a estaçāo em que a maioria das espécies de aves reproduzem. Pôde-se concluir que um intervalo menor que três anos entre cada queimada nāo e suficiente para as espécies arbustivas se recuperarem.

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