Performance of three tree species from tropical dry forest in an ecological restoration trial
Survival and growth of three tree species from tropical dry forest (Albizia occidentalis, Cedrela dugesii, and Ceiba aesculifolia) were measured in an ecological trial using a shrub species (Eysenhardtia polystachya) in order to assess its potential role as a nurse plant. Seven hundred and twenty seedlings of the three species were planted beneath, in the edge and outside from the canopy of E. polystachya. Survival of A. occidentalis after one year averaged 26%, while C. dugesii and C. aesculifolia averaged 37 and 56% and the highest mortality occurred during the driest months of the year (from March to May). The three species showed higher survival beneath the canopy of E. polystachya, but only C. dugesii showed signifi cant differences (P > 0.002). Only A. occidentalis showed a signifi cant higher growth beneath E. polystachya. We found harsh microclimatic conditions in the study site during the dry season (with air maximum temperatures surpassing 40 °C) but these conditions were more severe out of E. polystachya canopies (41°C) compared to sites beneath the canopy of this shrub (36.7 °C). This study is relevant because A. occidentalis y C. dugesii are protected by Mexican government laws.
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