Dioon holmgrenii is an endangered species and found in Southern Oaxaca, Mexico. Notwithstanding the extintion condition of this species, there is no relevant information on the ecological aspects of its populations, and this situation complicates the approval of management plans for its conservation. Our aim was to study D. holmgrenii forest characteristics, population structure and life-stages diversity in ten populations located in Sierra Madre del Sur, Oaxaca. For this, four sampling units (SU) measuring 25 x 50 m each (1 250 m2) were established per population, 40 SU in total (50 000 m2). Basal diameter (BD), basal area (BA), stem height (AT), crown diameter (DC), crown area (AC), and number of leaves (NH), were measured for each individual, from January to May 2013. Additionally, plant density, population structure, structural dominance index (IDE), heterogeneity (H'), evenness (E) and similarity (ISct) of life-stages (seedling, juvenile 1, juvenile 2, pre-reproductive, adult 1, adult 2, adult 3, and adult 4) were assessed. Plant density ranged from 148 to 954 individuals ha-1. Total basal area ranged from 1.3 to 17.6 m2.ha-1, and total crown area varied from 78.3 to 1 136.3 m2.ha-1. Forest traits of each individual (DB= 7.7 to 13.4 cm, AB= 0.010 to 0.023 m2, AT= 0.20 to 0.47 m, DC= 0.49 to 1.09 m, AC= 0.55 to 1.55 m2 and NH= 7.06 to 14.90) were different (p˂0.05) among populations. The highest values of IDE (0.01 to 5.63) were found in adult 1 and adult 2 in all populations. The most common population structure was found in those populations with the lowest proportions in juvenile 1 and juvenile 2, and the highest proportion in adult 1. Heterogeneity (H'= 1.05 to 1.71) and uniformity (E= 0.57 to 0.88) of life-stages were significantly different among populations (p˂0.05), and at least four life-stages (3.91= 48.9x8/100) were different among populations for half of the comparisons (22 of 45) of similarity (ISct < 0.68). Alfa diversity of life-stages was high in populations without plant damage, while beta diversity was low in those populations with human presence. Life-stages with the highest reproductive vigour (adult 1, adult 2) showed the highest structural dominance in all populations. These results may support the design and operation of management plans of D. holmgrenii populations, to enhance its protection in the area.

Keywords: basal and crown area, density, structural dominance, heterogeneity, uniformity, similarity of life-stages.