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

Virginia Cervantes-Gutiérrez, Ignacio Méndez-Ramírez, Iván Ernesto Roldán-Aragón, Aurora Chimal-Hernández, Vicente Arriaga-Martínez, Julia Carabias-Lillo
2017 Botan‪ical Sciences  
<p><strong><span lang="EN-US">Background. </span></strong><span lang="EN-US">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.</span></p><p><strong><span lang="EN-US">Research question. </span></strong><span lang="EN-US"><span> </span>To establish </span><span lang="EN-US">the relationship of vegetation structure and composition of a chronically
more » ... rbed TDF, with some environmental factors and the intensity of agricultural land use.</span></p><p><strong><span lang="EN-US">Study site and period of research. </span></strong><span lang="EN-US">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.</span></p><p><strong><span lang="EN-US">Methods. </span></strong><span lang="EN-US">A selection of 36 fragments was studied to determine vegetation <span>structure and composition as well as environmental factors</span>. </span><span lang="EN-US">Representative plants from sampled areas were collected<span>. </span><span>Data gathered was explored with regression and multivariate statistical analysis techniques.</span></span></p><p><strong><span lang="EN-US">Results. </span></strong><span lang="EN-US">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.</span></p><p><strong><span lang="EN-US">Conclusions.</span></strong><span lang="EN-US"> Composition and structure of vegetation were related to intensity of agricultural land use. Although<strong> </strong>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.</span></p>
doi:10.17129/botsci.1113 fatcat:xudfkvnrxvd3hf6cwbg2xmo4hi