Structure and floristic composition of the vegetation undergoing ecological restoration in the Eastern Hills of Bogotá (Colombia).
The structure, richness and floristic composition of the vegetation at a site in the Eastern Hills of Bogotá were analyzed in order to assess the efficacy of ecological restoration strategies applied in the area, and identify ways to optimize restoration efforts. Land cover types were determined and vegetation was sampled using 50 × 2 m plots in which woody individuals ≥0.30 m in height were measured. A total of 7604 individuals belonging to 106 species and 46 families were found. The exotic forest plantation cover was the largest in the area. Dense shrublands had the highest species richness, followed by forest plantations, abandoned pastures and open shrublands. Native species accounted for 51% of all individuals inventoried. The herbaceous and shrub strata included 85% of all individuals, whereas 92% had a DBH ≤12 cm. The species with the highest importance values were Acacia decurrens, Acacia melanoxylon and Eucalyptus globulus in forestry plantations, Fuchsia boliviana, Varronia cylindrostachya and Ulex europaeus in dense shrublands, Prunus serotina, Miconia squamulosa and Acacia decurrens in open shrublands and Eucalyptus globulus, Baccharis latifolia and Sambucus nigra in abandoned pastures. The vegetation is in the initial to intermediate stages of secondary forest succession. Nevertheless, the persistence of exotic and invasive species highlights the need for continued management in the area. Exotic tree plantations have facilitated the regeneration of the vegetation, although soil analyses are recommended to improve efficiency in the selection of native species for introduction. Varronia cylindrostachya, Miconia squamulosa, Piper bogotensis and Baccharis latifolia are key re-colonizers in succession.