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Vegetation of a tropical dry forest in a landscape with chronic disturbance: the case of the indigenous community of San Nicolás Zoyatlan (Guerrero, Mexico)

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      Abstract

      Abstract: Background: Tropical dry forests (TDF) provide numerous environmental services to its residents; this has led them to be humanized landscapes subjected to chronic disturbance with a high risk of disappearing. Research question: To establish the relationship of vegetation structure and composition of a chronically disturbed TDF, with some environmental factors and the intensity of agricultural land use. Study site and period of research: Our study was conducted during six months (July through November) in the TDF of the community of San Nicolas Zoyatlan (Guerrero, Mexico); a territory with a history of over 500 years of agricultural use. This use has led to a complex mosaic of vegetation fragments. Methods: A selection of 36 fragments was studied to determine vegetation structure and composition as well as environmental factors. Representative plants from sampled areas were collected. Data gathered was explored with regression and multivariate statistical analysis techniques. Results: A total of 59 families, 178 genera and 279 species were recorded. Species richness varied widely among fragments, in general with a low dominance and high turnover of species. Slope was the only factor that showed a solid relationship with vegetation variables. Three groups of fragments were established and the statistical differences between them were explained by the duration of fallow. The fragments with longer fallow period showed the best conditions in vegetation variables and 66.9 % of the species were found in them. Conclusions: Composition and structure of the tropical dry forests were related to intensity of agricultural land use. Although there is a process of impoverishment, vegetation dynamics involving species of the Fabaceae, Asteraceae and Burseraceae families show a potential for their use in the environmental restoration of Zoyatlan.

      Translated abstract

      Resumen: Antecedentes: Los bosques tropicales secos (BTS) aportan numerosos servicios ambientales a sus habitantes, esto los ha llevado a ser paisajes humanizados sujetos a disturbio crónico con riesgo de desaparecer. Pregunta: ¿Cuál es la relación de la composición y estructura de la vegetación de un BTS sujeto a disturbio crónico, con algunos factores del medio físico y la intensidad de uso agrícola del suelo? Sitio de estudio y fecha: El estudio se realizó en la comunidad de San Nicolás Zoyatlan (Guerrero, México) durante seis meses (junio-noviembre). Este territorio cuenta con más de 500 años de uso agropecuario, lo que ha propiciado un complejo mosaico de fragmentos de vegetación. Métodos: Se muestrearon 36 fragmentos para determinar la composición y estructura de la vegetación y los factores ambientales. Se recolectó y herborizó el material botánico representativo de las áreas muestreadas. Utilizando análisis de regresión y técnicas multivariadas se establecieron, tanto relaciones entre la vegetación y los factores ambientales como grupos específicos de fragmentos. Resultados: Se registraron 59 familias, 178 géneros y 279 especies. Entre fragmentos la riqueza específica varío ampliamente presentándose una dominancia baja y un alto recambio de especies. Únicamente la pendiente mostró una relación consistente con las variables de vegetación. Se obtuvieron tres grupos de fragmentos cuyas diferencias estadísticas se explicaron por los periodos de descanso agrícola; las zonas con mayor tiempo de barbecho presentaron 66.9 % de las especies y las mejores condiciones en las variables de vegetación. Conclusiones: La composición y estructura de la vegetación del BTS estuvo relacionada con la intensidad de uso agrícola del suelo. Aunque se presenta un proceso de empobrecimiento de la vegetación, existe una dinámica en la que participan especies de las familias Fabaceae, Asteraceae y Burseraceae, con potencial para utilizarse en la restauración ambiental de Zoyatlan.

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      Most cited references 47

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      Landscape modification and habitat fragmentation: a synthesis

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        A global overview of the conservation status of tropical dry forests

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          Diversidad y orígenes de la flora fanerogámica de México

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            orgnameUniversidad Autónoma Metropolitana orgdiv1Unidad Xochimilco Mexico
            orgnameComisión Nacional de Biodiversidad Mexico
            orgnameUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México orgdiv1Facultad de Ciencias Mexico
            orgnameUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de México orgdiv1Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y Sistemas Mexico
            Contributors
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Role: ND
            Journal
            bs
            Botanical Sciences
            Bot. sci
            Sociedad Botánica de México A.C. (México, DF, Mexico )
            2007-4298
            2007-4476
            September 2017
            : 95
            : 3
            : 433-459
            S2007-42982017000300433
            10.17129/botsci.1113

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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            Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 78, Pages: 27
            Product
            Product Information: SciELO Mexico
            Categories
            Ecology

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