Litter as an Ecological Indicator of Forest Restoration Processes in a Dense Ombrophylous Lowland Forest

ABSTRACT The objective of the present study was to evaluate the influence of spacing, species richness, and sampling time on accumulated litter in forest restoration areas in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. The experiment was conducted under a randomized complete block design, in a subdivided plot scheme. Six treatments were evaluated, consisting of a combination of spacing levels and species richness. Accumulated litter samples were weighed and chemically analyzed to obtain nutrient concentrations. The variables analyzed in the restoration process, in general, did not influence litter biomass and nutrient concentrations. The time elapsed between restoration implantation and data sampling for the present study may have been insufficient for the occurrence of differences in variables evaluated. Despite the small amount of accumulated litter, it is of great importance for soil physical protection and fertility improvement, generating conditions for the stabilization of new forest species in the restoration area.