Spontaneous vegetation succession and recovery of ecosystem structure and function in a 40-year abandoned stone quarry in a Mexican tropical dryland

  • Marian Mendoza-García Unidad de Biología, Tecnología y Prototipos, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Tlalnepantla, Estado de México https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5947-517X
  • Héctor Godínez-Alvarez Unidad de Biología, Tecnología y Prototipos, Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Tlalnepantla, Estado de México https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4352-3632
keywords: Ecological indicators, ecosystem structure and function, gypsum quarry, passive restoration, Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley, thorn-scrub forest

Abstract

Background: The restoration of sites degraded by stone quarrying in drylands requires expensive interventions. However, these interventions cannot be used in tropical drylands because rural communities lack financial resources. Spontaneous vegetation succession may help restore degraded sites. However, spontaneous succession is evaluated by only comparing species composition between degraded and reference sites, without considering the structure and function of degraded sites.

Question: Can spontaneous succession restore the structure and function of sites degraded by stone quarrying?

Study sites and dates:  San Rafael Coxcatlán, Puebla, 2013.

Methods: We evaluated nine indicators of ecosystem structure and function in 4 degraded sites abandoned for 40 years and 1 reference site.

Results: Spontaneous succession partially restored the structure and function of degraded sites. In all degraded sites, herb cover (20-49 %) and biocrust cover (21-51 %) were similar to those in reference site (19 %, 56 %). Three degraded sites also had canopy covers (57-76 %), shrub covers (51-52 %), and bare ground covers (2-3 %) similar to those in reference site (80 %, 42 %, 2 %). However, one degraded site displayed the opposite pattern (32 %, 8 %, 14 %). All degraded sites had lower tree cover (0-2 %), visual obstruction (6-25 %), and litter cover (3-30 %) than the reference site (21 %, 66 %, 77 %).

Conclusions: Spontaneous succession helped restore the structure and function in some degraded sites.

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Spontaneous vegetation succession and recovery of ecosystem structure and function in a 40-year abandoned stone quarry in a Mexican tropical dryland

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Published
2021-10-11
How to Cite
Mendoza-García, M., & Godínez-Alvarez, H. (2021). Spontaneous vegetation succession and recovery of ecosystem structure and function in a 40-year abandoned stone quarry in a Mexican tropical dryland. Botanical Sciences, 100(1), 86-92. https://doi.org/10.17129/botsci.2880
Section
ECOLOGY / ECOLOGÍA