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Revista mexicana de ciencias forestales

versión impresa ISSN 2007-1132


VILLANUEVA DIAZ, José et al. Ancient trees of Mexico. Rev. mex. de cienc. forestales [online]. 2010, vol.1, n.2, pp.7-30. ISSN 2007-1132.

Relict old growth forests in Mexico have almost disappeared, however old trees in mixed conifer forests are still present in remote mountain ranges which has allowed to determine their dominant phenotypes. A conifer species that lives for many years is Pseudotsuga menziesii thriving in the Western and Eastern Sierras Madre and the Eje Neovolcanico can surpass 600 years of age. This species is highly sensitive to climate and is frequently used for paleoclimatic studies. Other conifer species like Pinus cembroides , Pinus pinceana , Pinus culminicola , and Pinus lumholtzii growing in drier conditions reach ages over 300 years, but Pinus hartwegii an alpine species in the Mexican volcanoes can live over 600 years. Taxodium mucronatum , a riparian species, reaches the oldest age in Mexico and specimens over a thousand years old have been found in riparian ecosystems of the states of San Luis Potosi, Durango and Queretaro. On the other hand, tropical and semiarid ecosystems have not been fully studied for ancient trees. Some old specimens have been linked to historical events such as the Independence War and the Mexican Revolution situation that may contribute to their conservation. The location of old growth species provides additional knowledge to justify actions for the protection and restoration of degraded ecosystems, development of ecotourism projects and to protect biodiversity.

Palabras llave : Baldcypress; old growth trees; riparian forests; conservation; ecosystems; ecotourism.

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