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Print version ISSN 0366-5232


GRANADOS, CARLOS; SERRANO GINE, DAVID  and  GARCIA-ROMERO, ARTURO. Edge effect on composition and structure of temperate forests. Sierra de Monte Alto, Central Mexico. Caldasia [online]. 2014, vol.36, n.2, pp.269-287. ISSN 0366-5232.

Edge effects in temperate forests is studied, taking as a case study fragmented pine-oak communities of central Mexico . A total of 29 forest patches were sampled to recognize edge and interior areas with different composition and vegetation structure. In order to evaluate the edge effects at the landscape scale, we analyzed the impact of the amplitude of the edge and interior areas in 333 fragments with different spatial characteristics (size, shape and connectivity). The results indicate the existence of an edge-interior gradient that primarily impacts on forest biological composition. The area of ​​lower ecological quality is the edge (≤ 50 m), which has high values ​​of composition (diversity, richness and abundance), presence of species showing preference for outdoor environments (Prunus serotina, Quercus rugosa and Q. crassipes) and cultivated pine (Pinus patula) or disturbed environments (P. leiophylla). The core area (> 100 m), unlike the edge area shows lower compositional values, but with the presence of species that prefer indoor environments (Q. crassifolia, Q. obtusata and P. montezumae). A transition area (> 50- 100 m) with overlapping exterior and interior species (Prunus serotina, Q. obtusata and P. teocote) was detected between both, but with lower composition values than those of the edge area and greater statistical similarity with the core area. While 93% of forest area corresponds to fragments still retain a core area and / or transition area, 7% is divided into a large number of small fragments formed exclusively by edge area; the latter are linear forms that pose a high potential for connectivity and restoration. This paper provides new information about the consequences of landscape fragmentation in temperate forests.

Keywords : Forest fragmentation; edge effect; composition and structure of vegetation; forestry assessment.

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