Survival and development of reintroduced Cattleya intermedia plants related to abiotic factors and herbivory at the edge and in the interior of a forest fragment in South Brazil

ABSTRACT Biotic and abiotic factors, such as luminosity, temperature, air humidity, and herbivory, can affect the establishment of reintroduced plants in natural habitats. This study evaluated the effects of these factors on the survival and growth of Cattleya intermedia plants reintroduced into a forest fragment in South Brazil. Plants of C. intermedia were obtained from in vitro seed germination in asymbiotic culture. Eighty-eight plants were reintroduced at both the forest edge and forest interior. Plants with greater shoot heights and number of leaves and pseudobulbs suffered more damage from herbivores at the edge. There were no significant differences in morphometric parameters between damaged and non-damaged plants in the interior. Tenthecoris bicolor, Helionothrips errans, Ithomiola nepos, Molomea magna and Coleoptera larvae damaged C. intermedia. Luminosity was higher at the edge, while air humidity and temperature were the same in both environments. Herbivory associated with abiotic factors increased plant mortality in the interior, while abiotic factors were determinative of plant survival at the edge. Luminosity is important to the survival of reintroduced epiphytic orchids, and herbivory affects the success of reintroduction.