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Keywords:

  • Cape Region;
  • Ferocactus;
  • Tropical deciduous forest;
  • Organ pipe cactus;
  • Patch;
  • Species interaction;
  • Stenocereus
  • Wiggins (1980)

Abstract. The Sierra de La Laguna, Baja California Sur harbors the only tropical dry forest of the Peninsula. An inventory of the perennial plants was carried out at the eastern part of this mountain range. Plant spatial distribution was analyzed considering the species composition and vertical stratification of plant clusters in a study plot of 2 500 m2. A plant cluster was defined as a group of at least three individuals with a maximum distance between plants of 1 m. Soil physical-chemical characteristics and soil surface temperatures were compared between shade and sun conditions.

The tropical dry forest of Baja California Sur presents a highly aggregated pattern of species distribution. Most of the perennial plants grow clumped, yet not all of the six cactus species recorded were significantly associated with them. Pattern analysis revealed that only Stenocereus thurberii and Ferocactus peninsulae were aggregated and associated to perennial plants. There is no replacement pattern between cacti and perennial plants. Nutrient content, including soil fertility, between shade and sun conditions does not seem to explain the patchy distribution of perennial plants, while the differences in solar radiation between these conditions appear to be restrictive and determinant of this spatial pattern of distribution.