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A flash in the pan? The population dynamics of a dominant pioneer species in tropical dry forest succession
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  • Gerardo Dávila-Hernández,
  • Jorge A. Meave,
  • Rodrigo Muñoz,
  • Edgar Javier González
Gerardo Dávila-Hernández
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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Jorge A. Meave
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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Rodrigo Muñoz
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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Edgar Javier González
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Globally, around half of all tropical forests are secondary communities which are recovering from previous disturbances. In these communities, dominant pioneers play a critical role in the successional dynamics due their ability to modify the environment, and thus to facilitate or hinder the performance of other species. In this study, we examined the population dynamics of the dominant pioneer species, Mimosa acantholoba var. eurycarpa, in a tropical dry forest during the process of secondary succession. We collected data from permanent plots over a period of 13 years and used integral projection models to analyze the vital rates and changes in population size. Most vital rates were negatively related to successional age, with resprouting, survival and recruitment of individuals responding more strongly, and individual growth rate more weakly. These vital-rate trends translated into significant variation of population size over succession, with a maximum size at year four and a rapid decline thereafter. Overall, our findings suggest that this species benefits from its ability to display a large number of resprouts in very early stages of succession, contributing to the rapid increase in population density. However, as succession unfolds, a lack of resprouting and a decline in survival reduce its population size, to the point of local extinction. These results highlight the importance of resprouting in the early dynamics of tropical dry forest communities recovering from disturbance.
14 Aug 2023Submitted to Population Ecology
16 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
16 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
16 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned