, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 49-60

The desert vegetation of El Pinacate, Sonora, Mexico

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Abstract

The Pinacate region is part of the Gran Desierto, one of the driest deserts in North America. The presence-absence of perennial plant species, together with soil and landform characteristics, were registered in 110 sampling sites within this region. A classification and ordination of plant communities showed soil and landform units to be good predictors of plant variation. Plant distribution and species richness were also strongly related to altitude and rockiness. A Generalised Linear Model was used to fit the response curves of individual species.

The environmental factors related with plant distribution are indicators of the water regime within a given site. Plant communities repeat along topographic gradients the large-scale biogeographic variation of the Sonoran Desert. Microphyllous shrubs colonise the drier bajada slopes, while more diverse communities, dominated by cacti and drought-deciduous trees, grow on the wetter pediments and in pockets within rocky soils.