In this paper we analyse six communities with seven Mimosa species in the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán valley, Mexico. All species are endemic to Mexico and four are endemic to the valley. Mimosa species are found in (1) the ‘matorral xerófilo’ (arid tropical scrub): Mimosa calcicola, M. lacerata, M. luisana, M. polyantha and M. purpusii, and (2) the ‘selva baja caducifolia’ (tropical deciduous forest): M. adenantheroides, Mimosa texana var. filipes. Most of them occur in similar soil environments, while M. polyantha and M. calcicola establish in particular soil conditions and only M. luisana establishes in two different sites showing a wider range of adaptation to soil characteristics. The communities studied include 24 plant families, 51 genera and ca. 70 species (5% of the total flora estimated in the valley). Heterogeneity was found among the communities. Our results point to the replacement of ‘matorral xerófilo’ and ‘selva baja caducifolia’ by ‘matorral espinoso’ (thorny scrub). Thorny species (e.g. Acacia cochliacantha, Mimosa spp.) are becoming the dominant/codominant elements in the communities. Within the communities, Mimosa species have a significant influence on soil pH, organic matter and electrical conductivity values. These species contribute to ameliorate soil nutrient conditions (OM, Ntot, P, Ca, Mg, Na and K contents) as well as other environmental factors (e.g. temperature, shade) under their canopy in degraded plant communities and may serve as ‘resource islands’.
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Vol. 13 • No. 5