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Botanical Sciences

versão On-line ISSN 2007-4476versão impressa ISSN 2007-4298


RENDON-CARMONA, Humberto et al. Selective extraction of stakes for horticultural use in Mexico: A case for the conservation of the tropical deciduous forest and its resources. Bot. sci [online]. 2013, vol.91, n.4, pp.493-503. ISSN 2007-4476.

We review published, unpublished, and self-generated information related to the selective extraction of varas (stakes or support poles), and identify some potential effects of the removal of this non-timber forest product on the plant diversity, structure and regeneration of the tropical deciduous forests in Mexico. The varas in highest demand belong to a group of species of Croton (Euphorbiaceae), commercially known as vara blanca, which are widely used as stakes to support plants in horticultural fields. Three economic sectors are involved in the extraction of the vara resource: cutters, contractors, and intermediaries. The intermediaries, who are responsible for marketing the stakes, earn the largest revenues. Technical regulations in Mexico govern the extraction of varas, but they lack sound guidelines that will lead to sustainable use of the resource. Our studies in the Chamela region in Jalisco show that repeated extraction reduces species richness, modifies the structure of the plant community, and increases the relative dominance of Crotón septemnervius at the expense of other tree species. Furthermore, after the stakes are cut for harvesting, its vegetative regeneration is limited. The stumps and sprouts exhibit high mortality (> 70%), and the sprouts that survive grow slowly. In order to achieve long-term sustainable management of this forest product, the quality, specificity, and enforcement of the management guidelines require immediate improvement. Also, interdisciplinary studies of tropical deciduous forests management encompassing ecological and socio-economic interactions are urgently needed.

Palavras-chave : natural regeneration; selective extraction; sprouting; sustainable management.

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