The role of ecophysiological studies in the genus Prosopis: implications for the conservation of drought-prone species
The genus Prosopis is widely distributed in various agroforestry ecosystems, primarily in semiarid and arid climates of the Americas, Asia and Africa. These species serve as the food source for a large number of animal communities, such as goats and sheep, which consume their seeds and flowers. The seeds are also used to produce various products including flour and pulp. In northern Chile some species of Prosopis are threatened, which supports the inclusion of these species in reforestation plans. One critical source of information in the formulation of such reforestation strategies is the physiological analysis of these populations and the effects of abiotic factors on parameters such as reproduction and growth in the Prosopis forests of the Atacama Desert. In this note, we analyze the importance of ecophysiological studies of Prosopis populations and the main strategies adopted by these plants in response to water scarcity, which are critical to the survival of these desert communities. Future research must investigate these variables to provide an improved understanding of the endogenous behavior of species of Prosopis, which will be instrumental for creating forestation plans that will regenerate and preserve these woodlands.