, Volume 18, Issue 13, pp 3357-3365
Date: 02 Jun 2009

Seed dispersal effectiveness by understory birds on Dendropanax arboreus in a fragmented landscape

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Abstract

This study analyzes dispersal effectiveness of understory birds that feed on fruits of the tropical tree Dendropanax arboreus in a fragmented forest at Los Tuxtlas, east-central Mexico. The quantity and quality components of effectiveness were estimated in three different sites: continuous forest, 40 ha forest fragment, and 3 ha forest fragment. The quantity component was estimated through relative abundance, frequency of visits to fruits, and number of seeds in fecal samples. The quality component was estimated by analyzing germination of seeds defecated by birds and seed deposition patterns by birds. Seed deposition patterns were estimated by comparing the number of seeds found in fecal samples and the number of reproductive adults of D. arboreus in each site. Results showed that dispersal effectiveness of birds varied among sites. Turdus grayi was the most effective disperser in continuous forest, while Hylocichla mustelina was the most effective one in 40 and 3 ha forest fragments. These birds are contributing to the gene flow between fragments and continuous forest because they are able to use forest or riparian remnants, living fences, and isolated trees.