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DePauw University

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation


A year and a half after the August 2006 eruption of the Tungurahua volcano, the vegetative growth on the pyroclastic flows is young and scarce. To determine the types of plants and the mechanisms which control the dynamics of vegetative recovery, two transects were made; one in the Cusúa gorge and the other in the Bascún gorge in which the type, quantity and ages of the plants were noted. A third transect of vegetation not directly affected by the 2006 flows was made near the Bascún gorge for comparison purposes. In the two main sites, a total of 47 species were found, 19 in Cusúa and 28 in Bascún, the majority of which possessed special adaptations for growing in poor conditions. The dominant species in Cusua was Baccharis latifolia (Asteraceae) and in Bascún the dominant species was Alnus acuminate (Betulaceae), followed by B. latifolia. The results indicate that the principal mechanisms of primary succession include the amount of water and sun, ecological micro-habitats such as small cracks in rocks, and the distance from unaffected vegetation.


Latin American Studies | Natural Resources and Conservation


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