Tropical dry forest recovery : processes and causes of change

E.E. Lebrija Trejos

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Seasonally dry areas are one of the preferred zones for human inhabitance in the tropics. Large forest areas are converted to other land uses and many are covered by secondary forests that grow naturally after cessation of disturbance. Surprisingly, secondary succession in these strongly seasonal and drought-stressed areas has been largely neglected.
This study combines the classical chronosequence approach complemented with dendrochronological techniques and the direct study of successional changes over time. This allowed to determine distinct pathways of vegetation change and to elicit what makes a specific group of species to be present, dominate, and disappear from a certain space and moment throughout succession.
Coupled changes in forest composition, structure, and environmental conditions notably determined community assembly and patterns of species replacement. Temperature and species functional traits are revealed as key factors of successional change. These results significantly contribute to develop an appropriate theory for successional mechanisms in tropical dry forest.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Bongers, Frans, Promotor
  • Meave del Castillo, J.A., Promotor, External person
  • Poorter, Lourens, Co-promotor
  • Perez-Garcia, A.E., Co-promotor, External person
Award date6 Apr 2009
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs9789085853220
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • tropical forests
  • recovery
  • plant succession
  • dendrochronology
  • forest ecology
  • mexico

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