Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 10, pp 2120–2135 | Cite as

Initial floristic composition of rehabilitated gullies through bioengineering in the Mixteca Region, Sierra Madre del Sur, Mexico

  • Verónica Guadalupe Lira-Caballero
  • Mario Roberto Martínez-Menez
  • Angélica Romero-ManzanaresEmail author
  • Edmundo García-Moya


Re-vegetation plays a fundamental role for erosion control and plant recovery in lands affected by gully erosion. Bioengineered practices facilitate the gullies rehabilitation. Objectives of the research were: 1) Identify taxonomically the pioneer vegetation on each gully section; 2) Characterize vegetation distribution preferences and 3) Assess structural/ functional traits to recognize erosion control key species. Bioengineering was applied in a watershed belonging to Sierra Madre del Sur, at Oaxaca, Mexico, on eight gullies, with local support and minimal investment. “La Mixteca” is a poor ecological and socio-economic region, comparable to other regions of the world. The Initial Floristic Composition (IFC) inventory is the baseline of the successional process. The transect method was used to determine the colonization of species. Cover abundance of registered species was estimated using the semi-quantitative scale of Braun-Blanquet. This procedure was repeated in five different positions (floor, hillslopes and tops), in the cross section of the gully. Through correspondence analysis and clustering, the distribution of species was analyzed. Adequate responses were obtained in soil retention (quantity) and plant cover (existence and diversity); as measurable indicators of the bioengeneering works efficiency. Occupation of soil by native species from the Tropical Deciduous Forest was favored using live barriers. We detected species guilds with spatial distribution preferences in the gullies cross section. Plant cover characterization includes: native colonizer species, herbaceous, shrubby and trees of the forest community bordering the gully area, with cover abundance and structural/functional traits, useful to protect degraded areas. This spatial occupation process of plants responds to a secondary succession in gullies, where the proposed IFC model is correctly represented through bioengineering. Natural establishment of plants was successful by traits of species such as extensive root system and sexual/vegetative reproduction.


Semi-arid environment Mexico Gully erosion Plant colonization Multivariate analysis Braun-Blanquet method 


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We thank to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for providing financial support for the conduction of the research through Oaxaca Community Foundation. To the population of Santa María Tiltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, for the field walks and for helping to the field works in the mountains; to Donaldo Ríos-Berber and Erasmo Rubio-Granados for the technical support; Héctor Flores-Magdaleno, Víctor Gordillo and Moisés Venegas who drove a high resolution unmanned aerial vehicle, and Mario Luna-Cavazos for the advice on the handling of statistical information. Ana Rita Roman-Jimenez collaborated on the Spanish to English translation of this paper. Finally, the National Council for Science and Technology supported the first author through grant for two years.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HydrosciencesColegio de PostgraduadosMontecillo, TexcocoMexico
  2. 2.Department of BotanyColegio de PostgraduadosMontecillo, TexcocoMexico

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