Use of topsoil for restoration of a degraded pasture área

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the influence of topsoil thickness, shading and origin when performing environmental restoration in a degraded pasture area. The experiment was conducted in a randomized block design with a factorial (3 x 2 x 2) + 2 layout. Treatments consisted of combinations of topsoil origins (forest at early or middle regeneration stages), topsoil thicknesses (10, 20, or 30-cm superficial soil layer), and presence or absence of 70% shading; with two additional control treatments. Surveys on topsoil physical-chemical attributes and flora and soil coverage were conducted. Good correlation was observed between bulk density and total porosity. Vegetation comprised a total of 2,932 individuals of herbaceous, shrub and subshrub plants; 33 species in 11 families and 1 morphospecies were identified. A floristic survey of the tree stratum revealed 235 individuals belonging to 21 species and 14 families, as well as 2 unidentified species. The best natural regeneration index is observed in the 20-cm topsoil layer, where shading exerts a positive influence on the humidity and natural regeneration of the seed bank. Topsoil from middle-stage forest is the most suitable for restoration of degraded pasture areas.