Establishment of Fabaceae Tree Species in a Tropical Pasture: Influence of Seed Size and Weeding Methods

Authors

  • Silvia R. Pereira,

    1. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Recursos Naturais, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luiz Km 235, CP 676, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brasil
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  • Valdemir A. Laura,

    1. Embrapa Gado de Corte, BR 262, km 4, CP 154, CEP 79002-970, Campo Grande, MS, Brasil
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  • Andréa L. T. Souza

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Rodovia Washington Luis, km 235, CP 676, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brasil
      A. L. T. Souza, email altdesouza@gmail.com
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A. L. T. Souza, email altdesouza@gmail.com

Abstract

The successful establishment of trees in pastures may be related to species, seed size, and weed control treatments. This study experimentally evaluated the emergence, establishment after 2 years, and growth of individuals of 7 tree species with different seed sizes sowed under three weeding methods (no weeding, grasses clipped, and grasses removed). The experiment was carried out in a tropical abandoned pasture in Midwestern Brazil, dominated by the exotic invasive grass Urochloa brizantha. The effect of seed size on seedling emergence was significant and was more intense in the no weeding and weeding treatment plots than in grasses clipped. Furthermore, an increase in seed size resulted in an increase in the probability of establishment of tree species, although this pattern also differed among weeding treatments. The increase in seed size reflected negatively on tree growth in the absence of grasses, whereas in the presence of grasses there was an inverse relationship. The experimental results suggested that the use of seeds of different sizes for direct seeding in pastures is a possible strategy of Fabaceae tree species reintroduction in pastures within the Cerrado. Fabaceae species with seeds larger than 100 mg can establish in areas with no weeding, whereas species with seeds smaller than 50 mg can establish preferentially in areas with weeding, growing faster than larger ones. Thus, weeding strategies can determine the success of direct seeding of different species in restoration projects of tropical pastures.

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