In recent decades, cattle ranchers of the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil, have pointed to the accelerated spread of several herbaceous and woody plant species that invade natural and artificial pastures (campos). It has been speculated that overgrazing by an increasing number of cattle, lack of grazing in abandoned areas, or large-scale changes in environmental conditions may be the reason for this invasion. This study focuses on ecological and ecophysiological aspects of Vochysia divergens (cambará), a flood-tolerant tree that began spreading in the Pantanal during the last 30 years and is considered a very aggressive invasive plant. The study shows that the spread of cambará can be related to natural multi-years wet periods. During multi-years dry periods the species is reduced by the increasing impact of fires in the Pantanal. This points to the great importance of multi-years climatic events on the vegetation cover of the Pantanal and indicates a very dynamic development in plant communities.
Nomenclature: Pott & Pott (1994).