The continuing fragmentation of forests has been a threat to the maintenance of genetic resources

January 31, 2019

Strategies for the maintenance of forest resources have been increasingly important due to the rapid loss of natural habitats. The remaining forests are widely fragmented and mostly located in areas of monoculture and pasture. Thus, the gene flow from the pollen exchange between populations can be altered, as well as seed dispersal. In the north east of Brazil, real estate speculation and the establishment of monocultures such as coconut, sugar cane, extensive livestock breeding, and various extractive activities are constant threats to the genetic integrity of the natural populations of Hancornia speciosa. Efforts are needed to reconcile conservation of the genetic resource and the sustainable use of H. speciosaRead More.

Mating system of an economically important palm tree from Brazilian semiarid: the case of carnauba wax

September 22, 2017

The palm Copernicia prunifera, commonly known as carnaúba, can be used for a variety of purposes, from urban forestry to wax extraction from its leaves, the main product of the species, which is used in cosmetics, varnishes, and even for polishing fruit. The knowledge of the mating systems, as well as preliminary studies, such as reproductive biology, floral structures, and pollinators of a species, are essential to support taxonomy investigations, management strategies, breeding, and domestication of native species. Thus, we found that the C. prunifera has multiple inflorescences with hermaphroditic flowers and pollen viability of 62%. Outcrossing rates at the population level produced a multilocus outcrossing rate of 0.878 (~88%), indicating that C. prunifera has a mixed mating system that is preferentially allogamous. Floral visits were also recorded by the “maribondo-caboclo” (Polistes canadensis) and by “irapuá” (Trigona spinipes). That information helps us understand the reproduction mechanism, as well as to define management strategies for the conservation and genetic improvement of the C. prunifera palm. Read more.

Habitat fragmentation and vegetation corridors

July 04, 2008

Tropical forests present very diverse terrestrial ecosystems, but much of this diversity is threatened by habitat destruction and extensive fragmentation of natural populations. Creation or preservation of landscape structures, such as vegetation corridors, has been indicated to minimize the effects of habitat fragmentation. Especially in the Neotropical region, little is known about corridor importance for plant species, and previous work on this topic was not focused on population genetic processes.

The forest remnants in the state of Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil, are characterized by a hilly relief covered by vegetation mosaics formed by the contact between Atlantic seasonal forests, cerrado (woody savanna) and montane grasslands. In the vegetation corridors that connect small remnants of undisturbed primary forest in the Lavras landscape (Brazil), Protium spruceanum is a representative of a mass flowering insect-pollinated and bird-dispersed tree. Allozyme variation was quantified from five forest remnants from secondary vegetation corridors linking them to generate information for genetic conservation. Evidence of recent bottlenecks by anthropogenic disturbance was detected in fragments, but the genetic differentiation among remnants was low, and vegetation corridors have genetic identity with the fragments. Thus, our results suggest that landscape management strategies should therefore consider both the creation of new vegetation corridors and the protection of extant ones. Read more.

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