Edge effect on the population structure and the reproductive success of two Bursera species
Background: Environmental conditions in edges of vegetation fragments affect life cycle characteristics of the native biota (edge effect). We evaluated the edge effect on two Bursera species, which are representative of the mature community of the tropical deciduous forest (TDF) in Mexico.
Hypothesis. We expected a population structure reflecting the affectation to reproduction, survival and growth in the edges of TDF fragments.
Studied species: Bursera fagaroides, B. Palmeri.
Study site and years of study: Querétaro (Qro.), Apaseo el Grande (Gto.), México. Field survey: May-September 2012.
Methods: Within each of nine TDF fragments, we drew plots in two environmental contrasting conditions (edge and interior), between which we compared the density, population structure and reproductive success of the two Bursera species, as well as estimators of the solar radiation and soil compaction.
Results: Solar radiation and soil compaction were not different between environmental conditions. In both species density of individuals was larger in the edge, where individuals with middle and large sizes were predominant. Reproductive potential of individuals, and the viability and germination of their seeds were similar between edge and core environments.
Conclusions: Density and population structure showed a congruent variation with higher rates of recruitment, growth and survival in the edge environment, which could have been present under initial conditions of greater incidence of radiation in the edges. The similarity currently observed in the solar radiation between edge and core areas of fragments, could be a result of the fast recovery of the canopy under conditions of higher light incidence in edges.
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