Bosque (Valdivia)  vol.38 no.1; Abstract: S0717-92002017000100004
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Bosque (Valdivia)
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Abstract

WALTE-VEGA, Jennifer K, GARCIA-ROMERO, Arturo, MANZO-DELGADO, Lilia L et al. Distribution factors in fragmented cloud forest communities in Cofre de Perote volcano, Mexico. Bosque (Valdivia), 2017, vol.38, no.1, p.29-39. ISSN 0717-9200.

The mountain cloud forest, also known as cloud forest, is one of the terrestrial ecosystems with a distribution restricted to mountainous elevations with high precipitation and persistent fog. Due to physical, ecological and cultural changes in the landscape, the communities that exist today represent a minimum fraction of the ecosystem. The objective of this investigation was to identify the factors related to the geomorphological diversity and to changes related to cultural processes that act as key drivers of the distribution of cloud forest communities in one of central Mexico's highest peaks. Floristic composition of plant communities was determined through 21 samplings, including ecotone areas, disturbed sites and even coffee plantations located within the forest. These communities were mapped using GIS techniques, and their distribution was assessed considering various factors pertaining to relief, land use and fragmentation. Five major communities were identified: 1) Carpinus tropicalis + Quercus delgadoana forest, 2) Carpinus tropicalis + Prunus serotina forest, 3) Alchornea latifolia + Liquidambar macrophylla ecotone, 4) Cupressus lusitanica + Alnus jorullensis ecotone and 5) coffee plantations grown under the forest canopy. Relevant environmental factors were grouped into two axes: one comprising the spatial structure (fragmentation) and the other involving the morphological characteristics of relief. Altitude and the energy of relief are the environmental factors most significantly related to changes in the specific richness of the communities studied.

Keywords: Cofre de Perote volcano; mountain cloud forest; cloud forest; forest fragmentation; geomorphological diversity.

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