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Spatial distribution of Tephrocactus aoracanthus (Lem.) Lem. in relation to shrubs in the hyperarid regions of west-central Argentina



The spatial intraspecific and interspecific distribution of Tephrocactus aoracanthus (Lem.) Lem. was studied using univariate and bivariate point pattern analysis, at landscape scale in four different physiographic units and at microscale in terms of the shrubs found in those units. The influence of shrubs on photosynthetically active radiation and on soil temperature under their canopies was analysed. Results show a high environmental variability in light and temperature under shrubs that generally has no influence on the distribution of T. aoracanthus. Apparently, this cactus has great ability to adapt to different conditions of both photosynthetically active radiation and temperature. However, intraspecific distribution was highly clustered in all physiographic units, independently of bushes. Possibly, the mode of seed dispersal and the rooting of cladodes at small scale are the main processes that determine the strong intraspecific clustering of T. aoracanthus.

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