Vegetation structure and biodiversity recovery in 19-year-old active restoration plantations in a Neotropical cloud forest

  • Rosa-Amelia Pedraza Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz.
  • Guadalupe Williams-Linera Instituto de Ecología, (INECOL), Xalapa, Veracruz. http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6341-6570
  • Teresa Nicolás-Silva Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz.

Abstract

Aim of the study: To evaluate how middle-aged active restoration plantations of native tree species contribute to the recovery of the tropical cloud forest in terms of vegetation structure, tree richness, species composition, and to shade-tolerance and seed dispersal mode functional groups.

Area of the study: We studied two 19-year-old active restoration sites and their reference mature forests in the tropical montane cloud forest belt, Veracruz, Mexico.

Materials and methods: The basal area, density and height as well as the tree species composition and number of species and individuals classified by shade tolerance (pioneer and non-pioneer trees), and seed dispersal mode (anemochorous, barochorous-synzoochorous and endozoochorous) were compared between active restoration plantations and reference forests.

Main results: Planted trees and the woody vegetation growing under them represented a high proportion of reference forests’ basal area. Tree richness and Shannon’s equitability index were similar in both reference forests and one active restoration plantation and slightly different in the other. Tree species composition differed among sites; however, each 19-year-old plantation already had several non-pioneer species and a similar species proportion of the seed dispersal syndromes present in their reference forests.

Research highlights: Active restoration accelerated the recovery of cloud forest in degraded pasture and bracken fern lands. Planted trees promoted the rapid development of vegetation structure and natural tree regeneration. Although species composition is still different, these middle-aged restoration plantations already have forest species and a proportion of functional groups of species similar to those of their own reference montane cloud forests.

Keywords: active restoration; forest recovery; passive restoration; seed dispersal mode; succession; tree species; tropical montane cloud forest.

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Author Biographies

Rosa-Amelia Pedraza, Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz.
Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales
Guadalupe Williams-Linera, Instituto de Ecología, (INECOL), Xalapa, Veracruz.

Functional Ecology

Senior Researcher

Teresa Nicolás-Silva, Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa, Veracruz.
Instituto de Investigaciones Forestales

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Published
2021-04-28
How to Cite
PedrazaR.-A., Williams-LineraG., & Nicolás-SilvaT. (2021). Vegetation structure and biodiversity recovery in 19-year-old active restoration plantations in a Neotropical cloud forest. Forest Systems, 30(1), e004. https://doi.org/10.5424/fs/2021301-17131
Section
Research Articles