Digital Repository for Área de Conservación Guanacaste, a World Heritage Place.

Chihuahuan Desert Nopaleras: Defaunated Big Mammal Vegetation

Show simple item record Janzen, Daniel H. 2019-01-21T22:37:55Z 2019-01-21T22:37:55Z 1986
dc.description.abstract The southern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert of subtropical north central Mexico (110, 186, 250, 254, 255, 262, 311) extends from the vicinity of Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi north to the area of Saltillo, Torreon, and Chihuahua (1100-2500 m elevation). It contains a number of vegetation types in which large perennial plants (Opuntia, Yucca, Acacia, and Prosopis) are a prominent part of the vegetation. Their names are often incorporated in the names for Chihuahuan Desert plant associations (202, 250-256, 270, 272, 311). A spectacular example is the nopalera (Figure 1), the stimulus for this eclectic review. Nopaleras are dense stands of 1-4-m tall Opuntia cacti of several species, dotted with emergent Yucca, Acacia, and Prosopis (181, 254, 246). The name is local in origin and derives from the Mexican Indian (nahuatl) generic name of 'nopa!' for the broad-stemmed species of Opuntia cacti. In a nopalera, the cacti are so abundant that the habitat resembles the monotypic forests of introduced Opuntia that grew in Australia [see figures in (69)] until the introduction of neotropical insects that decimated them. The area between the large plants in a nopalera contains numerous species and individuals of annuals and smaller perennials (e.g. Agave, Larrea, Jatropha, Gramineae, Leguminosae, Compositae, Cactaceae, Asclepiadaceae). The density and proportions of all of these plants vary with contour, soil type, rainfall, drainage, exposure, grazing regime, and recent historical events, but the large plants remain conspicuous. es_CR
dc.language.iso en es_CR
dc.title Chihuahuan Desert Nopaleras: Defaunated Big Mammal Vegetation es_CR
dc.type Article es_CR

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Colección Pública
    Artículos de Acceso Abierto y Manuscritos de Investigadores entregados a ACG

Show simple item record

Search COPA


My Account