Demography of the cycad Ceratozamia mirandae (Zamiaceae) under disturbed and undisturbed conditions in a biosphere reserve of Mexico
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- Pérez-Farrera, M.A., Vovides, A.P., Octavio-Aguilar, P. et al. Plant Ecol (2006) 187: 97. doi:10.1007/s11258-006-9135-2
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The cycad Ceratozamia mirandae is endemic to Chiapas, Mexico. Demographic studies were made in two of its populations in the Sepultura Biosphere Reserve under different conservation conditions; in the nucleus zone “Tres Picos” (conserved) and buffer zone “La Sombra” (disturbed and under management). Spatial distribution of C. mirandae was aggregated, showed a clumped local distribution on shallow soils on steep slopes and male and female cones appear to be synchronous in both populations. The population structure was of type I (Bongers) for both sites. Individuals between the sites showed differences in growth pattern. The oldest plants (80–90 cm tall) were estimated to be about 490 years at “La Sombra”. The finite growth rate (\(\lambda\)) in the buffer zone population showed a tendency for decrease whilst in the nucleus zone this estimate remained stable. The highest elasticity values lied in the transition of the first three classes of the “La Sombra” population, in “Tres Picos” this corresponded to adult plants between 20 and 30 cm tall. Given the above, it is proposed that in the nucleus zone, reproductive adults should be of highest conservation priority, whereas in the buffer zone seedling reintroduction should be carried out regularly until the population increases. We recommend an IUCN Red List category of Vulnerable (VU C, 2a), largely due to difficult-to-control destructive annual forest fires that occur in this Reserve.