A new paper published in the journal Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics summarizes a long-term ecological research project in megadiverse montane grassland, and provides data on climate, soil, plant communities, plant mutualists, and antagonists. The researchers' goal is to integrate information into global mountain assessment networks.

Paper Abstract

Campo rupestre is a megadiverse vegetation mosaic dominating one of the world’s geologically oldest tropical mountains. The campo rupestre hosts nearly 15 percent of Brazil’s flora, with 40 percent of endemism in an area smaller than one percent of the national territory. This paper summarizes and explains the rationale underlying the long-term ecological research at Serra do Cipó (LTER-CRSC), in southeastern Brazil.

The LTER-CRSC is a multi-taxa monitoring initiative focused on ecological patterns and processes along elevational gradients. The paper explains the standardized sampling methods of the LTER-CRSC, and provides original data on climate, soil, and biodiversity along an elevational gradient. In the authors' view, the LTER-CRSC offers a remarkable opportunity to improve predictions on how global change drivers affect biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in tropical, snow-free mountains. Their ultimate goal is to integrate the data from this study into a growing database from global mountain assessment networks and LTERs. It is hoped this initiative will stimulate collaboration and lead to further LTER sites being established in tropical mountains. Such efforts are needed as a basis for scientifically-based policy making, especially aimed at mitigating the effects of global change on tropical biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

CITATION: Silveira, F. A.O. et al. 'Tropical Mountains as Natural Laboratories to Study Global Changes: A Long-Term Ecological Research Project in a Megadiverse Biodiversity Hotspot.' Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics (2019), Volume 38, pp. 64-73: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2019.04.001

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