Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 867–884 | Cite as

Effect of forest fragmentation on the woody flora of the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico

  • Susana Ochoa-Gaona
  • Mario González-Espinosa
  • Jorge A. Meave
  • Valentino Sorani
Article

Abstract

This study was conducted in the Chiapas Highlands, a tropical mountain region where traditional agricultural practices have resulted in a mosaic landscape of forest fragments embedded in a matrix of secondary vegetation and crop fields. The question addressed was how may woody species richness be affected by forest fragment attributes derived from traditional land-use patterns. Species inventories of total woody species, canopy and understorey trees, and shrubs were obtained in 22 forest fragments (≥5 ha). Multiple regression analyses were applied to examine the effects of size, matrix, isolation and shape of the forest fragments on richness of these species guilds. Fragment size was correlated with shape (r = 0.75) and isolation (r = −0.69), and isolation was correlated with shape (r = −0.75). Total species richness, and number of shrubs and understorey trees in fragments were related to isolation; moreover, additive effects of fragment shape were found for shrubs. The number of canopy species was not related to any fragment variable. Matrix did not help to explain species richness, possibly due to the landscape structure created by the traditional land-use patterns. In addition to size and isolation, we point out the need of considering shape and matrix as additional fragmentation attributes, along with social and economic factors, if we are ever going to be successful in our management and conservation actions.

Disturbance Floristic change Floristic diversity Forest structure Fragmentation indices Landscape ecology 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susana Ochoa-Gaona
    • 1
  • Mario González-Espinosa
    • 2
  • Jorge A. Meave
    • 3
  • Valentino Sorani
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología y Sistemática Terrestres, División de la Conservación de la BiodiversidadEl Colegio de la Frontera SurVillahermosaMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecología y Sistemática Terrestres, División de la Conservación de la BiodiversidadEl Colegio de la Frontera SurSan Cristóbal de Las CasasMexico
  3. 3.Departamento de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoCiudad UniversitariaCoyoacán, MéxicoMexico
  4. 4.Centro de Educación Ambiental e Investigación Sierra de HuautlaUniversidad Autónoma del Estado de MorelosCol. Chamilpa, CuernavacaMexico

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