Fruiting and flushing phenology in Asian tropical and temperate forests: implications for primate ecology
- 789 Downloads
In order to understand the ecological adaptations of primates to survive in temperate forests, we need to know the general patterns of plant phenology in temperate and tropical forests. Comparative analyses have been employed to investigate general trends in the seasonality and abundance of fruit and young leaves in tropical and temperate forests. Previous studies have shown that (1) fruit fall biomass in temperate forest is lower than in tropical forest, (2) non-fleshy species, in particular acorns, comprise the majority of the fruit biomass in temperate forest, (3) the duration of the fruiting season is shorter in temperate forest, and (4) the fruiting peak occurs in autumn in most temperate forests. Through our comparative analyses of the fruiting and flushing phenology between Asian temperate and tropical forests, we revealed that (1) fruiting is more annually periodic (the pattern in one year is similar to that seen in the next year) in temperate forest in terms of the number of fruiting species or trees, (2) there is no consistent difference in interannual variations in fruiting between temperate and tropical forests, although some oak-dominated temperate forests exhibit extremely large interannual variations in fruiting, (3) the timing of the flushing peak is predictable (in spring and early summer), and (4) the duration of the flushing season is shorter. The flushing season in temperate forests (17–28 % of that in tropical forests) was quite limited, even compared to the fruiting season (68 %). These results imply that temperate primates need to survive a long period of scarcity of young leaves and fruits, but the timing is predictable. Therefore, a dependence on low-quality foods, such as mature leaves, buds, bark, and lichens, would be indispensable for temperate primates. Due to the high predictability of the timing of fruiting and flushing in temperate forests, fat accumulation during the fruit-abundant period and fat metabolization during the subsequent fruit-scarce period can be an effective strategy to survive the lean period (winter).
KeywordsFruit Primates Temperate forest Tropical forest Young leaf
We would like to thank our friends and colleagues who helped us with our fieldwork in Japan, China, and Malaysia, which formed the basis of this paper. We thank Kevin Burns for his advice on circular statistics. This study was financed by the MEXT Grant-in-Aid (nos. 20770195, 22687002, 23657018) to GH, the 21st Century COE Program (A14), the Global COE Program “Formation of a Strategic Base for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Research: from Genome to Ecosystem,” and the Kyoto University Foundation.
- Clutton-Brock TH (1977) Primate ecology: studies of feeding and ranging behaviour in lemurs, monkeys and apes. Academic, BrightonGoogle Scholar
- Dormann CF, McPherson JM, Araujo MB, Bivand R, Bolliger J, Carl G, Davies RG, Hirzel A, Jetz W, Kissling WD, Kuhn I, Ohlemuller R, Peres-Neto PR, Reineking B, Schroder B, Schurr FM, Wilson R (2007) Methods to account for spatial autocorrelation in the analysis of species distributional data: a review. Ecography 30:609–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fleagle JG (1999) Primate adaptation and evolution, 2nd edn. Academic, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Hendrick RL (2001) Forest types and classification. In: Evans J (ed) The forests handbook, vol 1: an overview of forest science. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 23–64Google Scholar
- Hohmann G, Robbins MM, Boesch C (2006) Feeding ecology in apes and other primates. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Kay RNB, Davies AG (1994) Digestive physiology. In: Davies AG, Oates JF (eds) Colobine monkeys: their ecology, behaviour and evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 229–249Google Scholar
- Martyn D (1992) Climates of the world. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
- Nakagawa N, Iwamoto T, Yokota N, Soumah AG (1996) Inter-regional and inter-seasonal variations of food quality in Japanese macaques: constraints of digestive volume and feeding time. In: Fa JE, Lindburg DG (eds) Evolution and ecology of macaque societies. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 207–234Google Scholar
- Otani T (2005) Characteristics of middle-size mammals as a seed disperser of fleshy-fruited plants (in Japanese). Nagoya Univ For Sci 24:7–43Google Scholar
- Sakai S (2002) General flowering in lowland mixed dipterocarp forests of South-East Asia. Biol J Linn Soc 75:233–247Google Scholar
- Wada K (1975) Ecology of wintering among Japanese monkeys in Shiga Heights and its adaptive significance (in Japanese). Physiol Ecol Jpn 16:9–14Google Scholar