Seed rain dynamics following disturbance exclusion in a secondary tropical dry forest in Morelos, Mexico

Ceccon, Eliane; Hernández, Patricia
March 2009
Revista de Biología Tropical;mar-jun2009, Vol. 57 Issue 1/2, p257
In most of the legally protected areas in Mexico local inhabitants use natural resources, such as fire wood or cattle grazing. These frequent but low-intensity disturbances have consequences at various levels of the tropical ecosystems and strongly impact forest structure and its regeneration capacity. Despite their importance, the effects of these perturbations in many aspects of tropical forest ecology and in the forest's capacity to recover after disturbance exclusion remain poorly understood. Understanding the impact of these processes on tropical forests is necessary for rehabilitating these forests and enhancing their productivity. In this study, we evaluate the impact of twelve years of exclusion (E) of cattle grazing and fire wood extraction in the composition and dynamics of seed rain, and compare this assessment to a similar analysis in an area where these perturbations continued (without exclusion, WE). We found a strong seasonality in seed rain (96% of seeds fell in the dry season) in both areas. There were no significant differences between E and WE sites in relation to overall seed density, species richness and diversity. However, the distribution along the year of seed species density was significantly different among the E and WE sites. The Jaccard's similarity index between E and WE sites was relatively low (0.57). Barochory was the most common dispersal mode observed among the 23 species in terms of seed species density (48%), followed by anemochory (39%) and zoochory (13%). In relation to seed density, anemochory was the most frequent dispersal mode (88%). Most species in the zone were categorized as small seeds (92%), and there were no significant differences in the distribution of seed size between E and WE. The spatial pattern of dispersal of the four species with the highest relative importance value index, in both areas, was aggregated. Twelve years of disturbance exclusion were not enough to fully restore the seed rain of the area; some differences were already perceptible after this lapse. On the other hand, zoochorous species were almost absent from both sites. The re-introduction of climax and animal-dispersed species may be, in addition to perturbation exclusion, a viable strategy to accelerate ecological restoration in this area.


Related Articles

  • Climate Change and Forest Disturbances. Dale, Virginia H.; Joyce, Linda A.; McNulty, Steve; Neilson, Ronald P.; Ayres, Matthew P.; Flannigan, Michael D.; Hanson, Paul J.; Irland, Lloyd C.; Lugo, Ariel E.; Peterson, Chris J.; Simberloff, Daniel; Swanson, Frederick J.; Stocks, Brian J.; Wotton, B. Michael // BioScience;Sep2001, Vol. 51 Issue 9, p723 

    Examines how eight disturbances in climate change influence forest structure, composition, and function, and how climate change may influence the severity, frequency, and magnitude of disturbances to forests. Consideration of options for coping with disturbance under changing climate; Research...

  • Comparing and refining karst disturbance index methods through application in an island karst setting. Porter, Brandon; North, Leslie; Polk, Jason // Environmental Management;Dec2016, Vol. 58 Issue 6, p1027 

    The interconnected nature of surface and subsurface karst environments allows easy disturbance to their aquifers and specialized ecosystems from anthropogenic impacts. The karst disturbance index is a holistic tool used to measure disturbance to karst environments and has been applied and...

  • Responding to disturbances: lessons from a Mayan social-ecological system. González-Cruz, Gabriela; García-Frapolli, Eduardo; Casas, Alejandro; Dupuy, Juan Manuel // International Journal of the Commons;Sep2015, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p831 

    The Mayans of the Yucatán Peninsula, together with their environment, conform social-ecological systems with adaptation and resilience to natural, political and economic disturbances. In this study, we use the framework of socialecological systems for describing a mechanism that allows a...

  • Changing Climates, Changing Forests: A Western North American Perspective. Fettig, Christopher J.; Reid, Mary L.; Bentz, Barbara J.; Sevanto, Sanna; Spittlehouse, David L.; Wang, Tongli // Journal of Forestry;May2013, Vol. 111 Issue 3, p214 

    The Earth's mean surface air temperature has warmed by ~1°C over the last 100 years and is projected to increase at a faster rate in the future, accompanied by changes in precipitation patterns and increases in the occurrence of extreme weather events. In western North America, projected...

  • Changing Climate, Shifting Forests. Santiestevan, Cristina // American Forests;Winter2010, Vol. 115 Issue 4, p26 

    The article discusses the impact of the climatic changes in the forests in the U.S. It states that there may be drastic changes in the in plant-hardiness zones due to the increase in temperature data and computer mapping technology. It notes that shifting plant-hardiness zones reflect the actual...

  • Base cation distribution and requirement of three common forest ecosystems in eastern Canada based on site-specific and general allometric equations.  // Canadian Journal of Forest Research;Oct2012, Vol. 42 Issue 10, p1796 

    Base cations (Ca, Mg, and K) are essential nutrients for forest growth. Many studies have reported important decreases in the soils of several forests in eastern North America, partly because of atmospheric acid deposition and forest harvesting. To quantify the impacts of these perturbations on...

  • Effects of disturbances on scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) in Pine Forests. Durska, Ewa // Biodiversity & Conservation;Aug2013, Vol. 22 Issue 9, p1991 

    I investigated the ecological consequences of disturbances (anthropogenic and natural) on the scuttle fly communities in four large Pine Forests in Poland. I used data on 17,547 male individuals representing 183 species. Communities found in pine plantations (established in clear-cut areas) and...

  • An Integrated Method to Analyze Forest Ecological Networks for Urban Sustainable Development: A Case Study of Wuhan in Central China. Pujiang Huang; Yanfang Liu // Polish Journal of Environmental Studies;2014, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p1175 

    This research takes Wuhan as a case study with a focus on forest ecological network analysis based on an integrated approach. This approach applies the improved least-cost path model and scenario analysis to identify and compare networks with the cost surface setting, including ecological...

  • Disturbances, Their Interactions, and Cumulative Effects on Carbon and Charcoal Stocks in a Forested Ecosystem. Buma, Brian; Poore, Rebecca; Wessman, Carol // Ecosystems;Sep2014, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p947 

    Disturbances have a strong role in the carbon balance of many ecosystems, and the cycle of vegetation growth, disturbance, and recovery is very important in determining the net carbon balance of terrestrial biomes. Compound disturbances are phenomena of growing concern which can impact...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics