The 10 ha Ilha do Cardoso Forest Dynamics Plot is located in restinga forest in Ilha do Cardoso State Park, on the extreme south coast of São Paulo State in the city of Cananéia in the Estuarin-lagunar Complex Iguape-Cananéia-Paranaguá. The island is approximately 22,500 ha and was made a state park in 1962. The island topography is predominantly mountainous, and its central region contains massive crystalline rocks over 800 m high. The plot’s hydromorphic podzol soils are the result of recent sea sedimentation and are characterized by high levels of sand, low levels of clay and silt, and low fertility. Despite nutrient-poor and water-stressed sandy soils, the forest shows high diversity.
The plot was established in 2000/2004-05 (dbh >4.78 cm) as one of four 10 ha plots in the project Parcelas Permanente São Paulo (PPSP, BIOTA-FAPESP) to study the four forest types (Atlantic, restinga, semideciduous, cerradão) that occur in the state of São Paulo. The study of these tree communities aims to increase understanding of their dynamics and diversity to help improve conservation, management, and restoration practices.
In 2008, Ilha do Cardoso joined the ForestGEO network with the inauguration of a census to include all trees ≥ 1 cm. The census cataloged four new species (Rubiaceae) not enumerated in 2000/2004-05, bringing the plot total to 106 species and approximately 40,000 trees.