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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


LOTO, Dante et al. Structure and dynamics of palo santo forests in the Dry Chaco. Ecol. austral [online]. 2018, vol.28, n.1, pp.64-73. ISSN 1667-782X.

Knowledge on the structure and dynamics of Bulnesia sarmientoi (“palo santo”) populations is necessary for forest management aimed at the conservation and high-quality timber production by this species and the preservation of the ecosystem services of its forests. We characterized forest structure and dynamics in stands with palo santo presence in the Nothern Argentinian Dry Chaco. We sampled 21 forest sampling clusters. Each forest sampling cluster includes four sets of concentric circular plots of 1000 m² (diameter > 20 cm) and 500 m² (diameter >10 cm), located at the vertices of a square of 100 m side. Forest clusters were measured in 2007 and 2012. We calculated the importance value index (IVI) of each species in each conglomerate. We identified three typical structures with palo santo: a) palosantales in regularly flooded soils, b) palo cruz con palo santo, and c) Chaco mixed forest with the presence of palo santo. Periodic annual increment in diameter was 1.14 mm for all diameter classes. Taking as a reference the structure of a conglomerate with palo santo that was selective logged, we simulated alternative interventions (80% removal of all diameter classes or a diameter restriction of >40 cm) on stand dynamics. Cutting of 80% of the trees was a very severe intervention, suggesting that the removal of the smallest sizes for rural construction could compromise the recovery of the stand. A minimum size restriction could warrant recovery in 50 years. We suggest that the harvest of palo santo trees should be focused on large individuals with the highest added value potential.

Palabras clave : Bulnesia sarmientoi; Growth; Logging simulations; Forest stand dynamics.

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