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Ecología en Bolivia

Print version ISSN 1605-2528On-line version ISSN 2075-5023


DOMIC, Alejandra I. et al. Polylepis incarum (Rosaceae) a critically endangered species in Bolivia: proposal for the reclassification based on area of occupancy and population structure. Ecología en Bolivia [online]. 2017, vol.52, n.2, pp.116-131. ISSN 1605-2528.

Polylepis incarum (Rosaceae) is an endemic species of the Titicaca Lake basin that forms monospecific forest stands distributed in mountain slopes. In Bolivia, the species is classified as Endangered and it is estimated that the species covers approximately 367 km2; however, there is no quantitative information regarding the conservation status of the remaining populations. In this study, we conducted an intensive and systematic field evaluation to assess the conservation status of P. incarum in Bolivia. The objectives of the study were: a) to identify remaining P. incarum forest stands and to quantify the area of occupancy (AOO), b) to evaluate the population structure of forest stands and the effects of human activities, and c) to quantify the regeneration of these forest stands based on the density of seedlings and reproductive individuals and seed bank. We registered 20 localities where P. incarum is found, from which only five represent forest stands. The species covers an estimated area of 45.12 ha, which corresponds to only 0.123% of the previously estimated area. Most of the forest stands exhibit a high density of seedlings (mean: 17.68, range: 0.43-38.35), suggesting potentially high rates of regeneration. The seed bank assessment showed high seed density in areas located under the canopy (0.56 ± 0.12 seeds/g of soil) as opposed to open areas (0.015 ± 0.013 seeds/g of soil). Due to the small distributional range of P. incarum, we suggest reclassifying the species as Critically Endangered in Bolivia as well as the immediate implementation of conservation programs in order to promote the recuperation of the remaining populations and thus ensure the recovery of the species.

Keywords : Conservation status; High-mountain forests; Titicaca Lake basin.

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