The exotic palm Roystonea oleracea (Jacq.) O. F. Cook (Arecaceae) on an island within the Atlantic Forest Biome: naturalization and influence on seedling recruitment


Acta Bot. Bras.




Here, we investigated the population structure of the exotic palm Roystonea oleracea in a swamp on an island within the Atlantic Forest Biome, evaluating its influence on the seedling recruitment of other plant species. The population structure was analyzed in six 4 × 30 m plots, within which we categorized all individuals by ontogenetic stage. The influence of R. oleracea on the seedling recruitment of other plant species was evaluated in 2 × 2 m plots established beneath palm crowns and in adjacent areas without palms. We recorded 53 R. oleracea individuals. The majority (56.6%) of the R. oleracea population was composed of immature adults, followed by mature adults. The density, richness and diversity of seedling species differed significantly between areas beneath and away from palms, the values being lower beneath R. oleracea crowns. Our results indicate that R. oleracea recruitment does not require human intervention, the number of reproductive individuals characterizing successful naturalization. This underscores the need for management policies aimed at palm eradication in order to avoid reductions in biodiversity.

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