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Keywords:

  • cattle exclosure;
  • grazing;
  • Pinus culminicola;
  • rehabilitation;
  • seedling

Abstract

A pilot experiment designed to test the effect of cattle, small mammals, and elevation on the success of reforestation of an endemic dwarf pine species in northeastern Mexico was implemented. Pinus culminicola (Andresen et Beaman) grows only in four high peaks in the Sierra Madre Oriental and is under pressure from grazing, wildfires, and human activities such as mining, road development for timber extraction, and telecommunication and aerial navigation devices. We planted and monitored 2-year-old seedlings at three elevations within the natural distribution range of this species at Cerro El Potosí in Nuevo León, Mexico. At each elevation three treatments were established: (1) seedlings protected from cattle plus small mammals, (2) seedlings protected from cattle, and (3) seedlings with free access to cattle and small mammals. Seedling survival was approximately 50% in (1) after 4 years, but there were no surviving seedlings with free access to cattle. Elevation in general did not account for variation in survival. Seedling growth was poor during the 4 years, which implies that seedlings remain susceptible to grazing and trampling by cattle and small mammals. The implications for a large-scale restoration program are discussed.