Data from: At risk of population decline? An ecological and genetic approach to the threatened palm species Butia eriospatha (Arecaceae) of southern Brazil
Nazareno, Alison G.; dos Reis, Maurício S. (2013), Data from: At risk of population decline? An ecological and genetic approach to the threatened palm species Butia eriospatha (Arecaceae) of southern Brazil, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1s8f7
To estimate the risk of population decline for the threatened palm species Butia eriospatha, we investigated the patterns of demography, natural regeneration, herbivory, and the levels of genetic diversity using 9 microsatellite loci from both adults and seedlings sampled from 4 populations in Southern Brazil (n = 330). Our results indicate that cattle grazing in B. eriospatha population areas severely affect their demographic structure. Three B. eriospatha populations showed a bimodal age structure made up of adult plants and seedlings and high rates (>77%) of livestock herbivory. For 1 population, we describe and quantify for the first time the occurrence of 6 ontogenetic stages for this threatened palm species. Populations of B. eriospatha showed high levels of genetic differentiation (F ST adult plants = 0.287, F ST seedlings = 0.175). The amount of observed heterozygosity differed significantly between small (H O = 0.329) and large populations (H O = 0.461), indicating that small populations can be more susceptible to genetic drift. With no recruitment and a mortality rate of 2.0%, we show that the populations investigated in this study would be at an extremely high risk of local extinction, with a greater than 50% reduction in the effective population size, in the next 40 years. Although this study highlights the importance of analyzing both population ecology parameters and genetic data to better understand the level of risk facing threatened species, we emphasize that policy actions are urgently needed for effective conservation of this vulnerable biological resource.