GROWTH OF ATLANTIC FOREST TREES AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON TOPSOIL FERTILITY IN THE SOUTHEASTERN BRAZIL

ABSTRACT The aim of our study was to evaluate the dendrometric characteristics of Atlantic Forest trees of 21 years of deployment in the mountain region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and their influence on topsoil fertility. We evaluated the survival rates, total heights, and diameters at 1.30 m of all trees in the stand. The characterized soil chemical attributes were pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, Al, and organic matter at 0-0.1 m depth. The averages were compared by Student’s test (p<0.05). While Myroxylon peruiferum and Amburana cearensis had lower survival rates than the other species, Plathymenia reticulata had a larger diameter. All tree species showed diameter growth, though it was larger for Dalbergia nigra, Plathymenia reticulata, Schizolobium parahyba, Esenbeckia leiocarpa, and Lecythis Pisonis. All stands showed medium organic matter content, from 3.3 to 4.1%, and low P. The soils under the Dalbergia nigra and Plathymenia reticulata stands are the most acidic and with low Ca, Mg, and K levels. Our study demonstrated differences in growth patterns and that the species influenced the soil chemical characteristics differently.