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Title: Population ecology of Euterpe edulis Mart. (Palmae).
Author: Matos, Dalva Maria da Silva.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3621 2898
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 1995
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1- The ecology of a population of the tropical palm tree Euterpe edulis Mart. was studied at the Municipal Reserve of Santa Genebra, Campinas (Sao Paulo, Brazil). This palm has been intensively exploited due to the quality of its heart of palm (palmito). The heart of palm corresponds to the apical meristem of the plant together with the developing new leaves. 2- The indiscriminate exploitation that this palm has been subject to over recent years in southern Sao Paulo may result in it becoming extinct in many forest fragments. The biodiversity of large animals in these forests has declined as a consequence of hunting, and the overexploitation of E. edulis has also led to a decline in the number of large frugiverous birds. The financial benefits generated by the sustainable exploitation of palmito can exceed those from a single extraction or those from forest conversion to agriculture. 3- The seed and seedling ecology of the population of E. edulis was examined. On average each plant produced approximately 1500 fruits and, there was a tendency for plants of intennediate size to be slightly more fecund. Most seeds were found in close proximity to adult plants; the distance of dispersal could be described by a negative power curve. Five species of birds belonging to the Family Turdidae were observed to feed on the fruits of E. edulis while on the tree, while subsequent dispersal along the gro':lnd was found to occur by water. The probability of surviving and growing to the next Sl~ class was inversely related to the number of seedlings. The maximum survival of seedlIngs and growth to the next size class occurred approximately 4 m from adult plants, indicating that the survival and growth of seedlings was suppressed in the immediate vicinity of conspecific adults. 4- The spatial pattern of the population of E. edulis, in the Municipal Reserve of Santa Genebra, was significantly clumped. The data indicate that the spatial distribution of individuals becomes less clumped with time as individuals develop. 5- The transition matrix analysis of the population revealed that the population is increasing at a rate of 14% year-I. The highest sensitivity was observed in the transition from size-class 1 (0-10 mm diameter) to class 2 (10.1 - 20 mm). According to the elasticity analysis, most of the value of the finite rate of population increase is accounted for by the probability of surviving and remaining in the same size class. The results from the haryesting simulations, indicate that it is possible to harvest E. edulis sustainably when harvesting is restricted to size class 6 plants (Le. reproductive adults). 6- The density-dependence observed for survival and growth of plants in the smallest size class was s~ong enough to affect the population dynamics of E. edulis. Elasticity analysis of the transItion matrix shows that the position of populations of E. edulis in G-L-F space moves towards the L apex of the demographic triangle as the density of plants increases.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tropical rain forests; Palm trees Ecology Agronomy Plant diseases Horticulture