Effect of forest management on the herpetofauna of a temperate forest of western Oaxaca, Mexico
The development of silvicultural techniques has as main objective to maximize the production of timber, whereas at the same time minimize the impact generated during and after forest intervention in the local diversity. However, these activities change local climate, and this, in turn, alter the composition of natural communities. The effect of these changes may be greater in those taxonomic groups with high sensitivity to habitat disturbance, such as amphibians and reptiles, which are the unique terrestrial ectothermic vertebrates. The present study aims to know the differences in diversity of amphibians and reptiles in a temperate forest under two silvicultural treatments, one of low and the other of high intensity, as well as from one, five and ten years of regeneration since the last logging event, Sierra Sur of Oaxaca, Mexico. Records of 21 species of herpetofauna (six amphibians and 15 reptiles) were obtained. The total species richness was similar in both treatments; however, the composition varied between sites with different recovery times. Higher abundance of amphibian was presented on sites with the low-intensity treatment, while reptiles were more abundant at sites with intensive treatment. Compared to a mature forest without management, sites with intensive treatment have more rare species, although the values of true diversity of amphibians were similar between treatments with different intensities, while for reptiles sites under treatment showed less diversity that unmanaged site: 33 % for intensive treatment and 28 % at sites with low intensity with respect to one control site. Complementary Analysis showed a difference of 86 % between the compositions of species in sites with intensive treatment. The treatment intensity was associated with an increase in the number of species, but the way they respond to changes in habitat depends largely on the population characteristics of each species and its ability to adapt to new conditions.
Keywords: abundance, diversity, herpetofauna, impact, logging, Oaxaca.