Veredas of Minas Gerais: local anthropogenic effects and global climate change - Brazil
Veredas of Minas Gerais: local anthropogenic effects and global climate change
The PELD-VERE research site comprises three Conservation Units (UC): State Park of Veredas Peruaçu (PEVP), Environmental Protection Area of Pandeiros River (APA Rio Pandeiros) and Private Natural Reserve of Porto Cajueiro (RPPN Porto Cajueiro ). These UCs are located in the north of Minas Gerais, with the PEVP in the municipality of Cônego Marinho, APA Rio Pandeiros in the municipalities of Januária, Bonito de Minas and Cônego Marinho and RPPN Porto Cajueiro in Januária. These Ucs are very close to each other and are part of the Sertão Veredas-Peruaçu Mosaic. This mosaic, located on the left bank of the São Francisco River, covers the north and northwestern macroregions of Minas Gerais and a small part of the southwestern of Bahia and integrations of both protected and sustainable use conservations units, totaling more than 1,500,000 ha (FUNATURA 2008). The municipalities that make up the study site present tropical climate with dry winter, Aw of Köppen, with averages of temperature of 22.2º C to 22.7º C and average annual rainfall of 1008 to 1073 mm. Geomorphologically, the region forms part of the San Francisco Depression and San Francisco Plateau. The environmental conditions of the region are the result of a geological process based on the removal of sedimentary material occurring during the Tertiary period (Urucuia and Santa Helena Formations) and consequent exposure of the limestone layers of the Bambuí Series, monthly Pre-Cambrian remodeling. The soils of the region are usually sandy, unstructured, deep and with high drainage. Its origin comes from the transport and the sedimentation of material carried by great water flow in past geological periods. These conditions determined a soil that is poor in nutrients, very acidic and devoid of organic matter. The selection of areas is premised on the allocation of sample units in different environments, in relation to a current hydric situation and associated landscapes, all within the same climatic region. Thus, an area 1 will be located the PEVP, where it will be studied the Peruaçu Vereda (14º56'13 "S and 44º37'44" W), an environment that has drying over the years and is located in a protected area. The Area 2 will be located at APA Rio Pandeiros, in the Almescla Vereda (15º22'50 "S and 44º55'28" W), with loss of springs, and is inserted in a landscape with diverse antropic activities. Lastly, Area 3 will be located at the Porto Cajueiro RPPN (14º53'18 "S and 45º20'31" W), which does not change its watercourse and is inserted in a protected area. In this sense, three environments, such as subject to different local water conditions will be considered: two presented watercourse drying, but in different landscapes (preserved and impacted) and one a control environment, without severe disturbance.
General Characteristics, Purpose, History
The veredas are a phytophysiognic type of the Cerrado that present hydrophilic communities associated to the arboreal palm Mauritia flexuosa L.f. (Buriti). The Veredas are environments that participate in the control of the water flow, play a fundamental role in the hydrological balance of the watercourses, have unlimited ecological importance, allowing shelter and food/water for the animals, and unique social role, since several people live in this environment. The water flow control of the Veredas allows the perennialization of the rivers during the drought period, especially in regions with large dry seasons. Although the Veredas are recognized as Permanent Protect Areas, the anthropic occupation of their natural areas, mainly by agriculture and livestock, has led to the exhaustion of this environment. The current projection rates of deforestation in Cerrado, shows its disappearance completely in 2030. The peculiar characteristics of the Veredas, which include its physical and biological aspects - typical vegetation, reliefs, soils and climatic conditions, make this environment low resilience areas. The northern region of Minas Gerais presents very different environmental and social determinants of other regions of southeastern Brazil. This region presents several municipalities with the worst IDHM (Municipal Human Development Index) of Minas Gerais. In addition, the areas of study site are within Desertification areas. Thus, the prospects for altering the Veredas and increasing susceptibility to global climate change show the fragility of this ecosystem, still very little known in the region. The Veredas in northern Minas Gerais are drying up. The drying of springs has aggravated the survival of the families in the field and caused changes in the landscape. Several Veredas in the region are more susceptible to fire, as the intermittent watercourse, resulting from the lowering of the water table, together with the great local dry season, has triggered fires of great proportions that reach biodiversity. In this sense, with the drying of the Veredas, the main questioning involved in this project is: why the Veredas are drying up and what are the consequences to the conservation of biodiversity? Only with a long-term approach can we understand why the Veredas in the northern of Minas Gerais are collapsing. In this sense, this long-term program seeks to know the diversity of the complex and vulnerable Veredas, focusing on the flora and associated processes. Thus, we will verify if the typical vegetation of the Veredas is suffering retraction over time, especially of the associated hygrophilous forests; verify if there is a variation of the water balance, with tendency to lower the water table; identify the flora, structure and regenerative potential of the hygrophilous forests; identify if the processes related to nutrient cycling, flowering dynamics and fruiting, sexual and reproductive systems, such as pollination syndromes and reproductive efficacy, and physiological and anatomical aspects of the plants vary between the Veredas that present or not drying of the watercourse; and characterize if typical species such as Mauritia flexuosa and Mauritiella armata show adaptive or genetic responses to changes in landscape and climate in these environments. The evaluation of these components can provide information on the causes and consequences of the global changes for the conservation of the system and on the strategies to minimize the disappearance or complete modification of the Veredas in the northern of Minas Gerais.
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