Root behavior of savanna species in Brazil's Pantanal wetland

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the maximum depth, structure, diameter and biomass of the roots of common woody species in two savanna physiognomies (savanna woodland and open woody savanna) in Brazil's Pantanal wetland. The root systems of 37 trees and 34 shrubs of 15 savanna species were excavated to measure their length and depth and estimate the total root biomass through allometric relationships with stem diameter at ground level. In general, statistical regression models between root weight and stem diameter at ground level showed a significance of P<0.05 and R2 values close to or above 0.8. The average depths of the root system in wetland savanna woodland and open woody savanna are 0.8±0.3m and 0.7±0.2m, respectively, and differ from the root systems of savanna woody species in non-flooding areas, whose depth usually ranges from 3 to 19 m. We attribute this difference to the adaptation of woody plant to the shallow water table, particularly during the wet season. This singularity of woody species in wetland savannas is important when considering biomass and carbon stocks for national and global carbon inventories.

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Salis, S. M., Lehn, C. R., Mattos, P. P., Bergier, I., & Crispim, S. M. A. (2014). Root behavior of savanna species in Brazil’s Pantanal wetland. Global Ecology and Conservation, 2, 378–384. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2014.10.009

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