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Forests 2016, 7(4), 90; doi:10.3390/f7040090

Changes in Structure and Diversity of Woody Plants in a Secondary Mixed Pine-Oak Forest in the Sierra Madre del Sur of Mexico

1
Laboratorio Integral de Fauna Silvestre, Unidad Académica de Ciencias Químico Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Chilpancingo, Guerrero 39000, Mexico
2
Departamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Ciudad de Mexico 09340, Mexico
3
Unidad Académica de Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Acapulco, Guerrero 39810, Mexico
4
Laboratorio de Investigación en Biotecnología, Unidad Académica de Ciencias Químico Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Chilpancingo, Guerrero 39000, Mexico
5
Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación (CIByC), Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos 62209, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mark S. Ashton and Timothy A. Martin
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract

The biotic province of the Sierra Madre del Sur presents a mosaic of woodlands at different successional stages due to frequent modifications in land use. In this study, we analyzed changes in woody flora across three successional stages of pine-oak forest: early, intermediate, and mature. Vegetation composition and diversity were characterized in 10 plots (each 0.28 ha). The mature stage had the highest values for species richness, abundance, and diversity. Pioneer plants were dominant in the early-successional site and may promote the establishment of late-successional species. The vegetation structure was more complex in the mature stage, where members of the Quercus genus were co-dominant with Pinus species. Pine tree richness was highest in the early-successional stage, and its abundance increased at the intermediate-successional site. These results suggest that Pinus species can grow in perturbed and sunny environments but also require favorable edaphic and microclimatic conditions, such as those found in intermediate woodlands. Results of this fieldwork support the initial floristic composition succession model, which suggests that species present at early stages will also occur in subsequent stages. Ecological succession may be considered to be a natural restoration process, and thus, conservation strategies should focus on maintaining distinct successional communities in addition to mature forests in order to preserve a high number of species. View Full-Text
Keywords: pine-oak woodland; initial floristic composition; successional stage; abiotic factors; biotic province pine-oak woodland; initial floristic composition; successional stage; abiotic factors; biotic province
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Almazán-Núñez, R.C.; Corcuera, P.; Parra-Juárez, L.; Jiménez-Hernández, J.; Charre, G.M. Changes in Structure and Diversity of Woody Plants in a Secondary Mixed Pine-Oak Forest in the Sierra Madre del Sur of Mexico. Forests 2016, 7, 90.

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