iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Changes in forest diversity over a chronosequence of fluvial islands

Federico Brumnich (1-2)   , Zuleica Yael Marchetti (1-2), María Soledad Pereira (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 306-316 (2019)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2737-012
Published: Jun 06, 2019 - Copyright © 2019 SISEF

Research Articles

The high environmental heterogeneity of large fluvial systems is reflected by the co-existence of contrasting plant communities and landforms. The main objective of this study was to assess the forest diversity changes in islands of the Middle Paraná River (Argentina) in order to discuss an integrative question: how synchronized are the major changes in the features of islands and forests? Persistence age, elevation and flood regime of 11 main channel islands were determined. Variables related to the vascular plant community and the tree stand structure of forests were also measured in 400 m2 plots. Islands were classified as young or old (YIs or OIs), according to their persistence age, which ranged from two to 108 years. Both island classes differed in their elevation but not in the proportion of low water phase. Only three out of nine tree species were dominant: Tessaria integrifolia and Croton urucurana (restricted to YIs and OIs, respectively), and Salix humboldtiana (distributed in both island classes). Alpha diversity was positively correlated with the age of the YIs and reach the highest value in the oldest island forest. Beta diversity was mainly due to processes of species replacement which differentiate floodplain forests. Gamma diversity reached 101 species, being the perennial herbs a clear majority. The stand structure and the complete floristic composition were significantly different between YIs and OIs, with three and seven indicator species of each island class, respectively. Considering integrative models of succession, our findings suggest that the biogeomorphic phase, recognised by the fluvial biogeomorphic model, prevailed in the whole range of island persistence ages. Therefore, it seems that the increase in forest diversity in a large river is restricted to spatial refugia defined by major hydrogeomorphic shifts.


Middle Paraná River, Fluvial Biogeomorphic Succession, Vegetation Dynamics, Environmental Heterogeneity, Sand Bars, Hydrogeomorphic Dynamics

Authors’ address

Federico Brumnich 0000-0002-0502-6694
Zuleica Yael Marchetti 0000-0002-9241-9217
Centro Científico Tecnológico CONICET Santa Fe, Predio CONICET “Dr. Alberto Cassano”, Colectora Ruta Nacional 168 - Km. 0, Paraje El Pozo, 3000 Santa Fe (Argentina)
Federico Brumnich 0000-0002-0502-6694
Zuleica Yael Marchetti 0000-0002-9241-9217
María Soledad Pereira
Facultad de Ingeniería y Ciencias Hídricas, Universidad Nacional del Litoral (FICH-UNL), Ciudad Universitaria UNL, Ruta Nacional 168 - Km 472.4, Santa Fe (Argentina), CC 217, 3000 Santa Fe (Argentina)

Corresponding author

Federico Brumnich


Brumnich F, Marchetti ZY, Pereira MS (2019). Changes in forest diversity over a chronosequence of fluvial islands. iForest 12: 306-316. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2737-012

Academic Editor

Matteo Garbarino

Paper history

Received: Jan 24, 2018
Accepted: Apr 02, 2019

First online: Jun 06, 2019
Publication Date: Jun 30, 2019
Publication Time: 2.17 months

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