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Aspects of the population biology of the gregarious tree Cordia elaeagnoides in Mexican tropical deciduous forest

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 July 2009

Jan M. Van Groenendael
Department of Terrestrial Ecology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University, Bornsesteeg 69, 6708 PD Wageningen, The Netherlands
Stephen H. Bullock
Departamento de Ecología, Centro de Investigatión Científica y de Educatión Superior de Ensenada, Apartado Postal 2732, 22800 Ensenada, Baja California, México
L. Alfredo Pérez-Jiménez
Instituto de Biología, Universidad National Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-233, 04510 México, D.F., México


Cordia elaeagnoides is locally important within a large area of southern México as a highly gregarious canopy tree of dry forest and as a timber species. Its recruitment is problematic so studies of its reproduction and population dynamics were undertaken. The distylous flowers are apparently self-compatible, and pollination and seed dispersal are by wind. Pre-dispersal mortality is largely from embryo abortion, and post-dispersal predation is mostly by generalist rodents. Some seeds may survive in enforced dormancy for two or more years. Recruitment was apparently absent for more than a decade, but had previously occurred within established stands, where size classes were interspersed at random. Population size structure suggests that recruitment over the last century occurred in several pulses. Growth rates determined from ring counts and remeasurement of marked trees support a size-age relationship. The youngest reproductive trees are estimated to be about 18 years old, and about 5% of the present population is over 95 years old.


Cordia elaeagnoides es una esecie gregaria del dosel muy importante localmente en la selva tropical caducifolia del sur de México; además es maderable. Ya que su reclutamiento no es regular se llevaron a cabo estudios sobre su reproducción y dinámica poblacional. Las flores diestílicas aparentemente son autocompatibles y la polinización y dispersión de semillas son por el viento. La mortalidad predispersión es principalmente por aborción de embriones y la posterior a la dispersión por roedores generalistas. Aparentemente no hubo reclutamiento durante más de una década, pero sucedió anteriormente dentro de los parajes, donde árboles de diferentes clases de tamaño se encuentran entremezclados al azar. La estructura poblacional por tamaños sugiere que el reclutamiento durante el último siglo occurió en varios pulsos. Tasas de crecimiento determinados por conteo de anillos y por remedición de árboles marcados sostienen una relación tamañoedad. La edad de los arboles reproductivos más jóvenes se estima en 18 años y un 5% de la población actual tiene más de 95 años.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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