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Distribution Pattern of Trees in a Hydrological Gradient below the Paraná-Paraguay River Confluence

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DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2013.43A085    4,167 Downloads   6,033 Views Citations

ABSTRACT

Riparian and riverine aquatic plant species have evolved within the context of flowing water habitats for which the flooding and droughts are the forcing factors that shape the community features, either through a positive or negative effect on the ecosystem’s function, according to the timing, frequency and magnitude of such events. In the Paraná floodplain landscape, topographic position is a crude indicator of the position along the complex gradient, but it also includes information about flood/drought periods and trees’ resilience to extreme hydrological phases. We present the occurrence of major tree species in riparian forests of the Paraná River on islands of different topographies in a section of the Paraná River downstream from the confluence with the Paraguay River. Our results suggest that each tree species had a preferred position in the topographic gradient, sites where the observed counts were more frequent. This trees species were more frequent between 2 and 8 m in the topographic position and were affected by 5 and 202 hydrosedimentologic pulses between 1949 and 1999. We suggest that knowledge of the distribution curves of the vegetation species present can help draw possible future scenarios of the river landscape. Future engineering works to alter the hydrological dynamics of Paraná should pay more attention to the distribution of riparian forests because they are indicators of changes at the landscape level and they are the support for the wildlife of the river.

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S. Casco and J. Neiff, "Distribution Pattern of Trees in a Hydrological Gradient below the Paraná-Paraguay River Confluence," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 3A, 2013, pp. 663-673. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.43A085.

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