Differential diameter-size effects of forest management on tree species richness and community structure: implications for conservation
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- Gutiérrez-Granados, G., Pérez-Salicrup, D.R. & Dirzo, R. Biodivers Conserv (2011) 20: 1571. doi:10.1007/s10531-011-0046-8
In this paper we tested the hypothesis that logging effects in the adult tree community reverberate upon the regeneration contingent. We examined the differences on the tree community between forest reserves and 10 year-old logged areas in the Yucatan Peninsula. We used a paired design in three independent sites to estimate the effects of logging on tree species richness, diversity, composition and structure. Analyses were conducted differentiating individuals of four diameter-size classes: 1–5, 5–10, 10–25, and >25 cm DBH. We found out that there were differential effects by size. Species richness in the smaller and larger diameter-size classes was significantly lower in logged areas. Floristic composition was also different between logged and unlogged areas, with a trend towards more secondary forest associated species and less primary forest associated species in logged areas, and a higher density of species represented by a single individual in unlogged reserves. In terms of structure, trees DBH <10 cm, lianas, and re-sprouting stumps were more abundant in logged areas. Our findings suggest that 10 years after logging, harvested areas show alterations in structure, and potentially a reduction in species richness. We suggest that to make timber extraction and forest conservation compatible at this site, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of the ecology and regeneration requirements of the less abundant species, and to assess whether current logging practices might hinder their permanence in the study area.