Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation
Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 2018;16:24-30 DOI: 10.1016/j.pecon.2017.11.002
Research Letters
The South Brazilian grasslands – A South American tallgrass prairie? Parallels and implications of fire dependency
G.E. Overbecka,b,, , J.D. Scastac, F.F. Furquimb, I.I. Boldrinia,b, J.R. Weird
a Botany Department, Universidade Federal Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
b Graduate Program in Botany, Universidade Federal Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
c Ecosystem Science and Management Department, University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA
d Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, USA
Received 01 June 2017, Accepted 14 November 2017
Abstract

Fire has long been recognized as an important driver of vegetation patterns, and is of particular importance for biodiversity maintenance in many grassland systems, including the North American tallgrass prairie. Here, it has been successfully used as a conservation and restoration tool. In southern Brazil, grasslands appear to present many similarities to tallgrass prairie in terms of composition and ecology, but the role of fire has been poorly studied and it is not usually used in conservation. Here, we compare plant genera and family composition of tallgrass prairie and South Brazilian grassland sites. We find striking similarities in terms of dominant families, genera, and functional types. The similarities between plant communities suggest similarities in ecological processes and should lead to a re-thinking of conservation strategies in South Brazilian grasslands. Research on the role of fire is needed, and comparative North–South studies on grasslands in the Americas likely will provide important insights for grassland ecology and management.

Keywords
Campos Sulinos, Conservation, Disturbance, Management, Pampa, Tallgrass prairie