Community structure and species composition of a periodically flooded Restinga forest in Caraguatatuba, São Paulo, Brazil

Abstract: The aim of this study was to characterize the structure and composition of the tree and shrub community in a 77-ha fragment of Restinga forest in Caraguatatuba, São Paulo, Brazil. In this fragment, forty 20 × 20-m plots (1.6 ha) were systematically allocated and all trees with a stem diameter at breast height (DBH) ≥4.8 cm were sampled. Sixteen plots were randomly chosen to also sample individuals with a DBH of between 1 and 4.8 cm. All individuals were tagged, identified to species level, and their diameters and heights were measured. A total of 2587 individuals (1616 ind./ha) from 119 species and 42 families were found with a DBH >4.8 cm, and 2659 individuals (4154 ind./ha) from 125 species and 38 families were found with a DBH >1 cm. The richest families were Myrtaceae, Lauraceae, and Fabaceae, and the most abundant species were Diospyros brasiliensis (Ebenaceae), Anaxagorea dolichocarpa (Annonaceae), and Euterpe edulis (Arecaceae). The structure of the studied site was similar to that of other Restinga forest sites, but the forest composition was quite distinct. Implications for the conservation and restoration of Restinga forests in this region are discussed in light of the results obtained.