Secondary successional stages are likely to be the most frequent state of Tropical Dry Forests in the next decades, but at present, no standardized method exists to assess the forests’ status, complexity, and relative value to society. The principal objective of our ecological research agenda is to develop a comprehensive and standardized protocol for conducting latitudinal analyses, recognizing successional stages, and comparing features across these developmental phases (from Mexico to Argentina).
We work towards the characterization of forest structure and composition for use as indicators of ecosystem degradation. We are also very interested in the role that lianas play on the succession of tropical dry forests.
Our work involves determining plant functional groups in each successional community by characterizing plant phenology (i.e. vegetative and reproductive phenophases), plant reproductive traits (i.e. pollination syndrome, sexual expression, and seed dispersal), and biotic interactions (i.e. herbivory, seed dispersal, and pollination). The former information will allow us to predict the consequences of disturbances on any of these factors that are key to the regeneration of Tropical Dry Forests.