Pioneer Mimosa species dominate the early secondary succession in the tropical dry forest in Mexico.
The effects that these pioneers can have to the further successional stages remains poorly understood, as they may shape the pathway of succession.
Tropical dry forests are widely distributed, provide a variety of ecosystems services and support some of the poorest people in the world. Unfortunately, these forests are one of the most threatened biomes because of deforestation, shifting cultivation, among other human activities and natural disasters. After disturbances, these areas undergo secondary succession. During the early secondary succession, Fabaceae species are dominant as these species have mechanisms to counteract the harsh conditions of early successional stages. These pioneer species may function as nurse plants for seedlings but also competitors with established plants for resources. The effects that these pioneers can have to the further successional stages remains poorly understood, as they may shape the pathway of succession, by determining when and which species can develop in those areas by changes in microclimate conditions and different interactions with the old-growth forest species.
The focus of this research is on pioneer Mimosa species that dominate the early secondary succession in the tropical dry forest in Mexico and their effect on understory environment and regeneration. With a special focus on Mimosa eurycarpa as this species also undergo deterioration of the stems by twisting them and breaking off the stems which damage and kill the surrounding vegetation.