Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 4, pp 669–676 | Cite as

Dispersal of remnant endangered trees in a fragmented and disturbed forest by frugivorous birds

  • Ning Li
  • Bing Bai
  • Xin-hai Li
  • Shu-qing An
  • Chang-hu Lu
Regular Paper


Most endangered plant species in a fragmented forest behave as a unique source population, with a high dependence on frugivorous birds for recruitment and persistence. In this study, we combined field data of dispersal behavior of birds and GIS information of patch attributes to estimate how frugivorous birds could affect the effective dispersal pattern of Chinese yew (Taxus chinensis) in a fragmented and disturbed forest. Nine bird species were observed to visit T. chinensis trees, with Urocissa erythrorhyncha, Zoothera dauma and Picus canus being the most common dispersers. After foraging, six disperser species exhibited different perching patterns. Three specialist species, P. canus, Turdus hortulorum, and Z. dauma stayed in the source patch, while three generalist species, U. erythrorhyncha, Hypsipetes mcclellandii, and H. castanonotus, could perch in bamboo patches and varied in movement ability due to body size. As a consequence of perching, dispersers significantly contributed to the seed bank, but indirectly affected seedling recruitment. Moreover, the recruitment of T. chinensis was also affected by patch attributes in a fragmented forest (distances to source patch, patch type, size). Our results highlighted the ability of unique source population regeneration of T. chinensis in a fragmented forest, with high dependence on both frugivorous birds and patch attributes, which should be considered in future planning for forest management and conservation.


Frugivorous birds Effective dispersal pattern Fragmented forest Seed dispersal function Taxus chinensis 



We thank Hui Xue, Qiangjun Wang and Yun-feng Yin for their contributions in the field. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30970470), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2015M571734), Collaborative Innovation Center for Biodiversity and Conservation in the Three Parallel Rivers Region of China and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ning Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bing Bai
    • 1
    • 4
  • Xin-hai Li
    • 5
  • Shu-qing An
    • 2
  • Chang-hu Lu
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Plant-Animal Interactions, College of Forest Resources and EnvironmentNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Life ScienceNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity ResearchDali UniversityDaliChina
  4. 4.Yunnan Forestry Technological CollegeKunmingChina
  5. 5.Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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