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Botanical Sciences

On-line version ISSN 2007-4476Print version ISSN 2007-4298


LOPEZ-TOLEDO, Leonel; ESPINOSA-HIDALGO, Carlos; HORN, Christa  and  ENDRESS, Bryan A.. Effects of traditional management on the palm Brahea aculeata in a tropical dry forest in South Sonora, Mexico. Bot. sci [online]. 2015, vol.93, n.3, pp.461-471. ISSN 2007-4476.

In this study, we evaluate the effects of traditional management of Brahea aculeata (Arecaceae) on certain functional (total, production and size of leaves) and demographic (mortality, growth and reproduction) attributes in a tropical dry forest in southern Sonora, Mexico. The leaves of this species are used for roofing houses and handcrafts. Also, in the area free-range cattle feed on palm leaves, especially in the dry season. To evaluate the effects of grazing and leaf harvest, an experiment was established in Reserva "Sierra de Álamos", Sonora, in which we simulated the different traditional management practices. We established six treatments that combined grazing (with/without) and harvest intensities (no harvest/low/intensive). In small palms (≤ 200 cm stem length) interactive effects were generally found between grazing and leaf harvest, while in large palms (> 200 cm stem length) effects were only found for harvesting. In the small palms, negative effects were found in the number and size of leaves; while in leaf production, mortality and growth the effects were found to be positive. In the large palms, the effect of harvesting was positive in all cases, except for mortality, which did not present effects. The positive effects can be explained as an over compensatory response about of the loss of leaf area by the alteration of processes related to photosynthesis and/or the resource re-assignation. This study contributes valuable information for the establishment of an appropriate management program based on the traditional use of the species in the area.

Keywords : functional and demographic attributes; non-timber forest products; Reserva Sierra de "Álamos-Río Cuchujaqui".

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