This volume explores the South Brazilian grasslands, a unique complex of ecosystems in Brazil. Despite high biodiversity and many important ecosystem services, their biodiversity and conservation are neglected, both nationally, and globally. This book provides a state-of-the-art synthesis of knowledge on the biodiversity and its drivers in South Brazilian grasslands and associated ecosystems. Further, the book discusses conservation challenges and options, as well as management strategies that help to maintain the region's uniqueness. The chapters present information on biodiversity and ecological features of the region, and put this information into the context of historical and current human land uses, allowing for links to global discussions of conservation and sustainable development.
Altogether, the book contains 25 chapters organized in five sections. The book is directed at researchers, students and professionals working with biodiversity and sustainable development in southern Brazil, as well as to the international scientific and conservation community interested in grasslands and associated ecosystems, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions.
Section 1: Campos Sulinos: between the Tropics and Temperate zones
1. Gondwana rocks & Holocene coastal plains: geology of the Campos Sulinos region and relation to current landscape features
2. A look into the past: fossils from the Campos Sulinos region
3. Past and current climate in the Campos Sulinos region and vegetation dynamics over time
4. A historical perspective on the biogeography of the Campos Sulinos region
5. Climatic and soil conditions across the Campos Sulinos region
6. Colonization and land use history in a marginal region
Section 2: Diversity and dynamics of Campos Sulinos ecosystems
7. Grassland plant community composition and dynamics: disturbance as determinants of grassland diversity
8. Plant microevolutionary processes in the Campos Sulinos: why do they matter?
9. Campos Sulinos bird communities: effect of land use and management
10. Mammals in the Campos Sulinos: diversity and conservation status of grassland species
11. Amphibians and reptiles
12. Arthropods in the Campos Sulinos and their manifold ecosystem functions
13. Fish diversity in a grassland region
14. Soil organisms and their role for ecosystem processes
15. Wetlands in the Campos Sulinos: diversity, functions and threats
16. Soil carbon stocks and carbon storage in Campos Sulinos ecosystems
Section 3: Vegetation dynamics at the forest-grassland interface
17. Trees and forests in a grassland region: biodiversity, conservation status and threats
18. Forest expansion over South Brazilian grasslands and mediating processes
19. Conservation of forest-grassland mosaics in southern Brazil
Section 4: Campos Sulinos between conversion and conservation
20. Future land use scenarios for southeastern South America
21. Invasive species: current status and future threats
22. Conservation policy in southern Brazil: instruments, implementation and future challenges
23. Restoration of grasslands and forest-grassland mosaics in the Campos Sulinos region
24. Sustainable development in the Campos Sulinos region
Section 5: The Future of the South Brazilian Grasslands
25. The future of Brazil's Campos Sulinos
Gerhard Overbeck holds a Degree in Landscape Planning (Dipl.-Ing.; 2002) and in Natural Sciences (Dr. rer. nat.; 2005) from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the Department of Botany at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. His work focuses primarily on the diversity and dynamics of vegetation, with a special interest in grasslands and on questions of conservation and restoration. He has professional experience in environmental planning and nature conservation and has acted as editor of several scientific journals in the areas of vegetation ecology and ecological restoration. He has participated in the America's Assessment of the IPBES and is a contributor to the Brazilian Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BPBES).
Valerio Pillar is Professor Titular (Full Professor) of the Department of Ecology, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Research Fellow of CNPq (National Research Council, Brazil), and Chief Editor of the Journal of Vegetation Science and Applied Vegetation Science. Graduated in Agronomy by Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (1981), MSc in Animal Science (Forage Plants) by Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (1988), and PhD in Plant Sciences (Quantitative Ecology) by University of Western Ontario (1992). Has research experience in community ecology and quantitative ecology, mainly on phenotypic and phylogenetic patterns in community assembly; biodiversity and ecosystem processes, grassland dynamics, management, conservation, fire and grazing disturbance; paleoecology and global change; methods of multivariate analysis, permutation tests and other resampling methods.
Sandra Muller is Professor Titular at the Department of Ecology of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. She holds a degree in Biological Sciences from the Universidade de Passo Fundo (1996), a Master's in Botany from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (1999) and a Doctor's degree in Ecology from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (2005), conducted within a collaboration project with the Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany. Her research focuses on plant community ecology, especially forest and grassland communities, disturbances and long-term dynamics, and functional ecology. Increasingly, she has been working with ecological restoration.
Glayson Bencke holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (1993) and a Master's in Zoology from Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho (1998). He is a staff researcher and curator of birds at the Rio Grande do Sul State Museum of Natural Sciences (now part of the State Department of Environment and Infrastructure), and has experience in the conservation of animals and animal communities, with a special focus on birds. Currently, he collaborates with the international initiative Alianza del Pastizal for the conservation of natural grasslands on private lands in the Campos Sulinos region and contributes to governmental and international organizations in the elaboration and execution of action plans for threatened bird species.