Data from: Impact of a hurricane on the herpetofaunal assemblages of a successional chronosequence in a tropical dry forest
Suazo-Ortuño, Ireri et al. (2018), Data from: Impact of a hurricane on the herpetofaunal assemblages of a successional chronosequence in a tropical dry forest, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.127g7
Land‐use change is the main cause of deforestation and degradation of tropical forest in Mexico. Frequently, these lands are abandoned leading to a mosaic of natural vegetation in secondary succession. Further degradation of the natural vegetation in these lands could be exacerbated by stochastic catastrophic events such as hurricanes. Information on the impact of human disturbance parallel to natural disturbance has not yet been evaluated for faunal assemblages in tropical dry forests. To evaluate the response of herpetofaunal assemblages to the interaction of human and natural disturbances, we used information of pre‐ and post‐hurricane herpetofaunal assemblages inhabiting different successional stages (pasture, early forest, young forest, intermediate forest, and old growth forest) of dry forest. Herpetofaunal assemblages were surveyed in all successional stages two years before and two years after the hurricane Jova that hit the Pacific Coast of Mexico on October 2011. We registered 4093 individuals of 61 species. Overall, there were only slight effects of successional stage, hurricane Jova or the interaction between them on abundance, observed species richness and diversity of the herpetofauna. However, we found marked changes in estimated richness and composition of frogs, lizards, and snakes among successional stages in response to hurricane Jova. Modifications in vegetation structure as result of hurricane pass promoted particular changes in each successional stage and taxonomic group (anurans, lizards, and snakes). Secondary forests at different stages of succession may attenuate the negative effects of an intense, short‐duration, and low‐frequency natural disturbance such as hurricane Jova on successional herpetofaunal trajectories and species turnover.
Reserva de la Biosfera Chamela-Cuixmala