Floristic and structural characterization of the southernmost natural population of Jubaea chilensis (Molina) Baill. in Chile

Sofía Flores Meza, Alvaro Promis, Luis Faúndez


Jubaea chilensis (Molina) Baill. (Chilean palm) is anendemic species in Chile. It has been classified as a vulnerable speciesbecause of the reduction and the fragmentation of its populationnumbers, the exploitation of the palms for the production of syrup,the indiscriminate harvest of seed for human consumption, and thereduction of the accompanying native vegetation cover. The southernmostlimit of its natural distribution is located in Palmas de Tapihue(Pencahue, Maule region). The objective of this study was to benchmarkthe conservation status of this population and its accompanyingvegetation. The population of J. chilensis in Tapihue was divided inthree areas. The cover of all vascular plants was recorded with 8 plots(16 x 16 m), and the structure of the vegetation was evaluated with3 plots (50 x 20 m). A total of 35 adult specimens of J. chilensis werefound in the population, and a regeneration density of 0.2 seedlings/ha, values that are lower than those in other populations. Seedlingswere only found under the protection of Peumus boldus Molina. Therewere 75 species found on the accompanying vegetation, of which58.6% were classified as introduced species and 52.0% correspondedto therophytes. This population in Palmas de Tapihue had a low richnessof accompanying species and a higher species richness of introducedand therophytes species than other populations of J. chilensis.We conclude that the J. chilensis population in Palmas de Tapihue andits accompanying vegetation showed a degraded conservation status.Therefore, it should be necessary to develop an active rehabilitationstrategy to aid the recovery of this southernmost J. chilensis populationand its accompanying vegetation.

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Phyton. International Journal of Experimental Botany. ISSN print 0031-9457 ISSN en line 1851-5657 Fundación Rómulo Raggio Gaspar Campos 861,  Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina (C.P. 1638) Tel 54 11 4791-0868 / 4796-1456