Nucleated regeneration of semiarid sclerophyllous forests close to remnant vegetation

T. Fuentes-Castillo, A. Miranda, A. Rivera-Hutinel, C. Smith-Ramirez, M. Holmgren

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Natural regeneration of mediterranean plant communities has proved difficult in all continents. In this paper we assess whether regeneration of sclerophyllous forests shows nucleated patterns indicative of a positive effect of vegetation remnants at the landscape level and compare the regeneration patterns between sites with distinctive climate conditions. We studied the spatial patterns of vegetation change during 52 years in central Chile using remotely-sensed images to test the predictions that (1) regeneration of sclerophyllous vegetation expands from patches of remnant vegetation; and (2) regeneration is more dependent on remnant vegetation in drier sites. Our results show that the regeneration of the sclerophyllous vegetation in central Chile is a slow process that may be possible under certain conditions. We found that the fraction of regenerated vegetation increases with the proximity to remnant sclerophyllous forest in an aggregated pattern. Especially in drier sites, vegetation remnants have a facilitative role on the regeneration of mediterranean-type ecosystems. These results have important implications for the management and conservation of these ecosystems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-47
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • stress-gradient hypothesis
  • arid ecosystems
  • central chile
  • mediterranean vegetation
  • spatial autocorrelation
  • seedling establishment
  • positive interactions
  • tree establishment
  • plant-communities
  • atacama desert

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