Yew matriarchies of the Sierra de Francia. Dynamics and ecology of recently identified Yew populations in the Central Iberian Mountain Range (Sistema Central)

Prudencio Fernández-González, Antonio Fernández-Morcuende, Enrique García-Gomariz, M. José Rodríguez-Rivas, Esteban Sánchez-Amador, Fernando Vasco-Encuentra

Abstract


Aim of study: Our study design presents two main objectives: 1) to create a census that details the number of yew individuals and their geographic distribution, and 2) to attempt to unravel possible reproductive relationships and their connection between true population nuclei and meta-population models.

Area of study: Recently identified yew populations (Taxus baccata L.) were studied in the western sector of the Sistema Central mountain range of theIberian Peninsula, known as the Sierra de Francia. The study was carried out in five watersheds within Las Batuecas-Sierra de Francia Natural Park.

Material and Methods: All yew specimens were counted and assigned to age groups. The notable differences observed in regeneration aof these communities propitiates population analysis aimed at explaining the landscape connectivity relationships between the different population nuclei and the possibility of defining the meta-population set. Ecological niche models were also created to define the main ecological characteristics of the different subpopulations studied, and to compare them.

Main results: Yew in the Sierra de Francia live in an array of different Mediterranean forests, indicative of species dynamics in theIberian Peninsula. 2,450 specimens were recorded and classified into the three types of yew forest population dynamics: regressional-, naturally regenerating-, and incipient- (i.e.  colonizing new territories).

Research highlights: The essential role of connectivity between populations was recognized and confirmed in this study, specifically among the large female trees located at the headwaters. Based on the role of these female trees, we have created a model called “yew matriarchies”, which serves to express the relevance of large female yew trees in population dynamics.

Keywords: Taxus baccata; census; connectivity; seed dispersal.

Keywords


Taxus baccata; census; connectivity; seed dispersal

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References


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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015243-07472

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems