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Castillo, S.A., Moreno-Casasola, P.: Coastal sand dune vegetation: an extreme case of species invasion. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 2: 13-22, 1996.


Abstract. The coastal sand-dune flora of the Gulf and Caribbean region of Mexico was analyzed to understand differences in floristic composition and richness found along the coast. Each of the 655 species reported was classified according to its ecology and distribution range by checking herbaria specimens, literature and specialists. Three groups were formed: (a) species with predominantly coastal distribution; (b) ruderal or secondary species frequently found inland, common of disturbed areas such as roadsides, abandoned fields or forming part of secondary growths; (c) inland species frequently found in other vegetation types such as tropical dry or seasonal forest and grassland. A total of 71 coastal species, 237 ruderal/secondary and 336 species from other community types were found. The distribution of these groups was analyzed along 44 sites of the Gulf and Caribbean, in the different dune habitats and for the dominant growth forms. Coastal species are more widely distributed; they predominate in habitats with sand movement and the herbaceous component prevails. Ruderal/secondary species and especially those belonging to other vegetation types frequently appear in only one or two sites occupying more protected or stabilized habitats. The two latter groups considerably increase species richness of sand dune flora, but also pose interesting problems for dune conservation.

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