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Successional trends in soil seed banks of abandoned pastures of a Neotropical dry region

  • Susana Maza-Villalobos (a1), Celina Lemus-Herrera (a2) and Miguel Martínez-Ramos (a1)
Abstract
Abstract:

A chronosequence was used to study seed-bank communities during the first 12 y of tropical-dry-forest regeneration in abandoned pastures in Chamela, Mexico. Prediction that seeds of woody species replace those of herbaceous species during succession was tested and mechanisms of species replacement (facilitation, tolerance, inhibition) were assessed. Four successional categories (three sites each) were considered: pasture (0–1 y since abandonment), early (3–5 y), intermediate (10–12 y), and old-growth forest. At the end of the dry season, 20 cylindrical soil samples (10 cm diameter, 15 cm depth) were randomly obtained within a 20 × 50-m plot in each site. Seeds ≥1 mm were counted and identified. Overall, 2941 seeds and 102 morphospecies (52 taxonomically identified) were recorded. Seed bank density reduced, species diversity remained fairly constant and seeds of herbaceous species were replaced by those of woody species over the chronosequence. A clear species-by-species replacement pattern was detected, as expected under a mechanism of succession by facilitation. Twelve years after abandonment, a diverse seed bank of woody species did exist, indicating a fast recovery of the tropical-dry-forest regenerative potential; nonetheless, the structure and composition of the seed bank was still different from that in the old-growth forest.

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Corresponding author
1Corresponding author. Email: mmartine@oikos.unam.mx
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S. H. BULLOCK 1995. Plant reproduction in neotropical dry forest. Pp. 277296 in S. H. Bullock , H. A. Mooney & E. Medina (eds.). Seasonally dry tropical forests. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 450 pp.

M. FENNER 1985. Seed ecology. Chapman and Hall, London. 151 pp.

N. C. GARWOOD 1989. Tropical soil seed banks. Pp. 149209 in M. A. Leck , V. T. Parker & R. L. Simpson (eds.). Ecology of soil seed banks. Academic Press, San Diego. 462 pp.

A. H. GENTRY 1995. Diversity and floristic composition of neotropical dry forest. Pp. 146190 in S. H. Bullock , H. A. Mooney & E. Medina (eds). Seasonally dry tropical forests. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 450 pp.

R. L. SIMPSON , M. A. LECK & V. T. PARKER 1989. Seed banks: general concepts and methodological Issues. Pp. 38 in M. A. Leck , V. T. Parker & R. L. Simpson (eds.). Ecology of soil seed banks. Academic Press, San Diego. 462 pp.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
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