Natural and Human Induced Disturbance in Vegetation
Periodo de realización: 1900/01/01 al 2015/06/01
Tipo: Capítulo de libro
Lugar(es) de estudio: Chetumal, Q.R., México
Resumen: "The present chapter analyses natural and human disturbance which impacted the vegetation of the Yucatán Peninsula. The relevance of the slash-and-burn system is outlined, a system used for many centuries, and the relevance of fire in this practice. Slash-and-burn and fires provide information about the present structure and composition of the tropical forests of the Yucatán Peninsula. Several seral stages are identified, which agree well with seral stages recognized by modern Maya farmers. In relation to natural disturbance, we analyze the influence of hurricanes and their immediate and general effects on the vegetation and related fauna. Hurricanes and droughts are relevant agents of disturbance, as hurricanes cause considerable structural damage to forests and contribute to the accumulation of large quantities of dry biomass. This biomass can act as fuel for large forest fires. We discuss the natural dynamics that have characterized the vegetation of the Yucatán Peninsula through time, showing that it is a resilient ecosystem."