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Track analysis and conservation priorities in the cloud forests of Hidalgo, Mexico



Abstract . A track analysis based on the distributional patterns of 967 species of vascular plant taxa (gymnosperms, angiosperms and pteridophytes) was performed to assess conservation priorities for cloud forests in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, ranged in the municipalities of Chapulhuacán, Eloxochitlán, Molocotlán, Pisaflores, Tenango de Doria, Tlahuelompa and Tlanchinol, as well as five floristically equivalent areas in the states of Veracruz (Teocelo and Helechales), Tamaulipas (Gómez Farías), Morelos-México (Ocuilan) and Oaxaca (Huautla de Jiménez). In order to detect generalized tracks we employed a new parsimony method, where clades (considered equivalent to generalized tracks) are defined forbidding homoplasy and acting like a compatibility algorithm. Several generalized tracks were found connecting these areas. Cloud forests of Chapulhuacán were connected according to three different generalized tracks and thus have a higher value, qualifying as a priority area for the conservation of cloud forests in the state of Hidalgo.