Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 985–1012 | Cite as

Effects of Single and Recurrent Wildfires on Fruit Production and Large Vertebrate Abundance in a Central Amazonian Forest

  • Jos BarlowEmail author
  • Carlos A. Peres


Wildfires are an increasing threat to tropical rainforests, yet little is known about their effects on fruit production and forest wildlife. We examined the effects of both single and recurrent wildfires on fruit production and large vertebrate abundance in a central Amazonian terra firme forest for 3 years following a large fire event. The estimated mortality of 42 and 74% of stems ≥10 cm in once- and twice-burnt forest led to a substantial loss of fruiting tree basal area (29 and 62% were lost in once- and twice-burnt forest, respectively) and crown coverage of fruiting woody lianas (89 and 97% were lost in once- and twice-burnt forest, respectively). Some important tree families producing fleshy fruits were less abundant than expected in once- and twice-burnt forest, suggesting that tree mortality was non-random in terms of species composition. Asynchronous fruit production was affected, and burnt forest transects sustained a much lower fruiting basal area, and fewer fruiting species during the dry season period of fruit scarcity. The number of fruiting trees in once- and twice-burnt forest was higher than the number predicted from actual levels of tree mortality recorded in each fire disturbance treatment, suggesting some surviving trees which may have benefited from higher irradiance levels and lower competition for resources. Many large frugivores and other vertebrate species declined in response to single fires, and most primary forest specialists were extirpated from twice-burnt forest, which sustained a higher number of species associated with second growth and other disturbed habitats.


Fire Frugivory Fruit phenology Hunting Seed dispersal Tropical forest 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anggraini, K., Kinnaird, M., O’Brien, T. 2000The effects of fruit availability and habitat disturbance on an assemblage of sumatran hornbillsBird Conserv. Int.10189202Google Scholar
  2. Balcomb, S.R., Chapman, C.A., Wrangham, R.W. 2000Relationship between chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) density and largefleshy-fruit tree density: conservation implicationsAm. J. Primatol.51197203CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Barlow, J., Haugaasen, T., Peres, C.A. 2002Effects of ground fires on understorey bird assemblages in Amazonian forestsBiol. Conserv.105157169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barlow, J., Lagan, B.O., Peres, C.A. 2003Morphological correlates of fire-induced tree mortality in a central Amazonian forestJ. Trop. Ecol.19291299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barlow, J., Peres, C.A. 2004aEcological responses to El Niño-induced surface fires in central Amazonia: management implications for flammable tropical forestsPhilos. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond., B359367380Google Scholar
  6. Barlow J. and Peres C.A., in press. Avifaunal responses to single and recurrent wildfires in Amazonian forests. Ecol. Appl. Au: Please update if possible.Google Scholar
  7. Chapman, C.A., Chapman, L.J., Wangham, R., Hunt, K., Gebo, D., Gardner, L. 1992Estimators of fruit abundance of tropical treesBiotropica24527531Google Scholar
  8. Chapman, C.A., Wrangham, R., Chapman, L.J. 1994Indexes of habitat-wide fruit abundance in tropical forestsBiotropica26160171Google Scholar
  9. Chapman, C.A., Wrangham, R.W., Chapman, L.J., Kennard, D.K., Zanne, A.E. 1999aFruit and flower phenology at two sites in Kibale National Park, UgandaJ. Trop. Ecol.15189211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chapman, C.A., Gautier-Horn, A., Oates, J.F., Onderdonk, D.A. 1999bAfrican primate communities: determinants of structure and threats to survivalFleagle, J.G.Janson, C.Reed, K.E. eds. Primate CommunitiesCambridge University PressCambridge137Google Scholar
  11. Chivers, D.J. 1972The siamang and the gibbon in the Malay peninsularRumbaugh, D.M.Siamang,  eds. Gibbon and SiamangKargerBaselGoogle Scholar
  12. Cochrane, M.A. 2001aIn the line of fire – understanding the impacts of tropical forest firesEnvironment432838Google Scholar
  13. Cochrane, M.A. 2001bSynergistic interactions between habitat fragmentation and fire in evergreen tropical forestsConserv. Biol.1515151521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cochrane, M.A. 2003Fire science for rainforestsNature421913919CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Cochrane, M.A., Laurance, W.F. 2002Fire as a large-scale edge effect in Amazonian forestsJ. Trop. Ecol.18311325Google Scholar
  16. Cochrane, M.A., Schulze, M.D. 1999Fire as a recurrent event in tropical forests of the eastern Amazon: effects on forest structurebiomass, and species compositionBiotropica31216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cochrane, M.A., Alencar, A., Schulze, M.D., Souza, C.M., Nepstad, D.C., Lefebvre, P., Davidson, E.A. 1999Positive feedbacks in the fire dynamic of closed canopy tropical forestsScience28418321835CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Cordeiro, N.J., Howe, H.F. 2001Low recruitment of trees dispersed by animals in African forest fragmentsConserv. Biol.1517331741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Curran, L.M., Caniago, I., Paoli, G.D., Astianti, D., Kusneti, M., Leighton, M., Nirarita, C.E., Haeruman, H. 1999Impact of El Nino and logging on canopy tree recruitment in BorneoScience28621842188CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Doi, T. 1988Present status of large mammals in Kutai National Park after a large scale fire in East KalimantanTagawa, H.Wirawan, N. eds. A Research on the Process of Earlier Recovery of Tropical Rain Forest After a Large Scale Fire in Kalimantan TimurKagoshima UniversityIndonesiaGoogle Scholar
  21. Emmons, L.H., Gautierhion, A., Dubost, G. 1983Community structure of the frugivorous folivorous forest mammals of GabonJ. Zool.199209222Google Scholar
  22. Fleming, T.H., Breitwisch, R., Whitesides, G.H. 1987Patterns of tropical vertebrate frugivore diversityAnn. Rev. Ecol. Systemat.1891109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Galetti, M., Aleixo, A. 1998Effects of palm heart harvesting on avian frugivores in the Atlantic rain forest of BrazilJ. Appl. Ecol.35286293Google Scholar
  24. Gerwing, J.J. 2002Degradation of forests through logging and fire in the eastern Brazilian AmazonForest Ecol. Manage.157131141Google Scholar
  25. Gill, A.M. 1995Stems and firesGartner, B.L. eds. Plant Stems: Physiology and Functional MorphologyAcademic PressNew York323342Google Scholar
  26. Goldammer, J.G. 1999Ecology – forests on fireScience28417821783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harms, K.E., Wright, S.J., Calderon, O., Hernandez, A., Herre, E.A. 2000Pervasive density-dependent recruitment enhances seedling diversity in a tropical forestNature404493495CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Howe, H.F. 1979Fear and frugivoryAm. Nat.114925931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Howe, H.F. 1986Seed dispersal by birds and mammalsMurray, J. eds. Seed DispersalAcademic PressSydneyGoogle Scholar
  30. Howe, H.F., Smallwood, J. 1982Ecology of Seed DispersalAnnu. Rev. Ecol. Systemat.13201228Google Scholar
  31. INFRAERO 1998. Infraero rainfall data. Supertendencia de Infrearo. Sala AIS/SBSN, Santarem airport, Santarem.Google Scholar
  32. Janson, C.H., Emmons, C.H. 1990Ecological structure of the nonflying mammal community at Cocha Cashu Biological Station, Manu National Park, PeruGentry, A.H. eds. Four Neotropical RainforestsYale University PressNew Haven, CTGoogle Scholar
  33. Janzen, D.H. 1980When is it coevolution?Evolution34611612Google Scholar
  34. Johns, A.D. 1985Differential detectability of primates between primary and selectively logged habitats and implications for population surveysAm. J. Primatol.83136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Johns, A.D. 1988Effects of selective timber extraction on rain-forest structure and composition and some consequences for frugivores and folivoresBiotropica203137Google Scholar
  36. Johns, A.G. 1997Timber Production and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Rain ForestsCambridge University PressCambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  37. Jordano P. 1992. Fruits and frugivory. In: Fenner M. (ed.), Natural Plant Communities. CAB International, pp. 105–151.Google Scholar
  38. Kauffman, J.B., Uhl, C. 1990Interactions of anthropogenic activities, fireand rain forests in the Amazon basinGoldammer, J. eds. Fire in the Tropical BiotaSpringer-VerlagNew York117134Google Scholar
  39. Kinnaird, M.F., O'Brien, T.G. 1998Ecological effects of wildfire on lowland rainforest in SumatraConserv. Biol.12954956Google Scholar
  40. Lambert, F.V., Collar, N.J. 2002The future for Sundaic lowland forest birds: long-term effects of commercial logging and fragmentationForktail18127146Google Scholar
  41. Laurance, W.F., Cochrane, M.A., Bergen, S., Fearnside, P.M., Delamonica, P., Barber, C., D’Angelo, S., Fernandes, T. 2001The future of the Brazilian AmazonScience291438439CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Laurance, W.F., Rankin-de Merona, J.M., Andrade, A., Laurance, S.G., D’Angelo, S., Lovejoy, T.E., Vasconcelos, H.L. 2003Rain-forest fragmentation and the phenology of Amazonian tree communitiesJ. Trop. Ecol.19343347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Leighton, M., Leighton, D.R. 1982The relationship of size and feeding aggregate to size of food patch: Howler monkey Alouatta palliata feeding in Trichilia cipo trees on Baro Colorado IslandBiotropica148190Google Scholar
  44. Leighton, M., Wirawan, N. 1986Catastrophic drought and fire in Borneo tropical rain forest associated with the 1982–1983 El Nino Southern Oscillation eventPrance, G.T. eds. Tropical Forests and the World AtmosphereAAAS Selected Symposium 101American Association for the Advancement of ScienceWashington, DC75102Google Scholar
  45. Lieberman, D. 1982Seasonality and phenology in a dry tropical forest in GhanaJ. Ecol.70791806Google Scholar
  46. Nelson B.W. 2001. Fogo em florestas da Amazônia Central em 1997. In Proceedings of the 10th Brazilian Remote Sensing Symposium, pp. 1675–1682.Google Scholar
  47. Nepstad, D.C., Uhl, C., Serrao, E.A.S. 1991Recuperation of a degraded Amazonian landscape - forest recovery and agricultural restorationAmbio20248255Google Scholar
  48. Nepstad, D.C., Carvalho, G., Barros, A.C., Alencar, A., Capobianco, J.P., Bishop, J., Moutinho, P., Lefebvre, P., Silva, L.S. 2001Road paving, fire regime feedbacks, and the future of Amazon forestsForest Ecol. Manage.154395407Google Scholar
  49. Nepstad, D.C., Verissimo, A., Alencar, A., Nobre, C., Lima, E., Lefebvre, P., Schlesinger, P., Potter, C., Moutinho, P., Mendoza, E., Cochrane, M., Brooks, V. 1999Large-scale impoverishment of Amazonian forests by logging and fireNature398505508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nogales, M., Valido, A., Medina, F.M., Delgado, J.D. 1999Frugivory and factors influencing visitation by birds at `Balo' (Plocama pendula Ait., Rubiaceae) plants in the Canary IslandsEcoscience6531538Google Scholar
  51. O’Brien, T.G., Kinnaird, M.F., Nurcahyo, A., Prasetyaningrum, M., Iqbal, M. 2003Firedemography and the persistance of siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus: Hylobatidae) in a Sumatran rainforestAnim. Conserv.6115121Google Scholar
  52. Peres, C.A. 1994Primate responses to phenological changes in an Amazonian terra-firme forestBiotropica2698112Google Scholar
  53. Peres, C.A. 1999aGround fires as agents of mortality in a Central Amazonian forestJ. Trop. Ecol.15535541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Peres, C.A. 1999bGeneral guidelines for standardising line-transect surverys of tropical forest primatesNeotrop. Primates71116Google Scholar
  55. Peres, C.A. 2001Paving the way to the future of AmazoniaTrends Ecol. Evol.16217219CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Peres, C.A., Barlow, J., Haugaasen, T. 2003vertebrate responses to surface fires in a Central Amazonian forestOryx3797109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Peres, C.A., Roosmalen, M. 2002Patterns of primate frugivory in Amazonia and the Guianan shield: implications to the demography of large-seeded plants in overhunted tropical forestsLevey, W.Silva, D.Galetti, M. eds. Frugivory and Seed Dispersal: Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation IssuesCAB InternationalOxfordGoogle Scholar
  58. Peters, R., Cloutier, S., Dube, D., Evans, A., Hastings, P., Kohn, D., Sawer-Foner, B. 1988The ecology of the weight of fruit on trees and shrubs in BarbadosOecologia74612616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Pitman, N.C.A., Terborgh, J., Silman, M.R., Nuez, P. 1999Tree species distributions in an upper Amazonian forestEcology8026512661Google Scholar
  60. Poulsen, J.R., Clark, C.J., Connor, E.F., Smith, T.B. 2002Differential resource use by primates and hornbills: implications for seed dispersalEcology83228240Google Scholar
  61. Putz, F.E. 1979Aseasonality in Malaysian tree phenologyMalay. Forest.42124Google Scholar
  62. RADAM 1988. Mapa de vegetacao do Brazil. IGBE and IBDF.Google Scholar
  63. Rathke, B., Lacey, E.P. 1985Phenological patterns of terrestrial plantsAnnu. Rev. Ecol. Systemat.16179214Google Scholar
  64. Ribeiro, J.E.L.S.,  et al. 1999Flora da Reserva Ducke: Guia de Identificacao das Plantas Vasculares de Uma Floresta de terra-firme na Amazonia CentralINPAManausGoogle Scholar
  65. Rylands, A.B., Mittermeier, R.A., Rodriguez-Luna, E. 1995A species list for the new world primates (Platyrrhini): distribution by country, endemismand conservation statusaccording to the Mace-Lande systemNeotrop. Primates3113160Google Scholar
  66. Sallabanks, R., Courtney, S.P. 1993On fruit–frugivore relationships – variety is the spice of lifeOikos68567570Google Scholar
  67. Sanford, R.L., Saldarriaga, J., Clark, K.E., Uhl, C., Herrera, R. 1985Amazon Rain-Forest FiresScience2275355Google Scholar
  68. Siegert, F., Ruecker, G., Hinrichs, A., Hoffmann, A.A. 2001Increased damage from fires in logged forests during droughts caused by El NinoNature414437440PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Slik, J.W.F., Eichhorn, K.A.O. 2003Fire survival of lowland tropical rain forest trees in relation to stem diameter and topographic positionOecologia137446455CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Slik, J.W.F., Verburg, R.W., Kessler, P.J.A. 2002Effects of fire and selective logging on the tree species composition of lowland dipterocarp forest in East Kalimantan, IndonesiaBiodiversity Conserv.118598Google Scholar
  71. Stevenson, P.R. 2001The relationship between fruit production and primate abundance in Neotropical communitiesBiol. J. Linnean Soc.72161178Google Scholar
  72. Stevenson, P.R., Quinones, M.J., Ahumada, J.A. 1998Annual variation in fruiting pattern using two different methods in a lowland tropical forestTinigua National Park, ColombiaBiotropica30129134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Terborgh, J. 1983Five New World Primates – A Study in Comparitive EcologyPrinceton University PressPrinceton, NJGoogle Scholar
  74. Terborgh, J. 1986Community aspects of frugivory in tropical forestsEstrada, A.Fleming, T.H. eds. Frugivores and Seed DispersalDr. W Junk Publ.Dordecht, the Netherlands371384Google Scholar
  75. Terborgh, J., Petren, K. 1991Development of habitat structure through succession in an Amazonian floodplain forestBell, S.S.McCoy, E.D.Mushinsky, H.R. eds. Habitat Structure: The Physical Arrangement of Objects in SpaceChapman and HallLondon2846Google Scholar
  76. Turcq, B., Sifeddine, A., Martin, L., Absy, M.L., Soubies, F., Suguio, K., Volkmer-Ribeiro, C. 1998Amazonia rainforest fires: a lacustrine record of 7000 yearsAmbio27139142Google Scholar
  77. Uhl, C., Buschbacher, R. 1985A disturbing synergism between cattle ranch burning practices and selective tree harvesting in the Eastern AmazonBiotropica17265268Google Scholar
  78. Uhl, C., Kauffman, J.B. 1990Deforestation, fire susceptibility, and potential tree responses to fire in the Eastern AmazonEcology71437449Google Scholar
  79. van Roosmalen, M.G.M. 1985Fruits of the Guianan FloraInstitute of Systematic BotanyUtrechtGoogle Scholar
  80. Schaik, C.P., Terborgh, J.W., Wright, S.J. 1993The phenology of tropical forests – adaptive significance and consequences for primary consumersAnnu. Rev. Ecol. Systemat.24353377Google Scholar
  81. Wallace, R.B. 1998The behavioural ecology of black spider monkeys in north-eastern BoliviaUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolPh.D. Thesis.Google Scholar
  82. Wallace, R.B., Painter, R.L.E. 2002Phenological patterns in a southern Amazonian tropical forest: implications for sustainable managementForest Ecol. Manage.1601933Google Scholar
  83. Wilson, M.F. 1989Vertebrate dispersal syndromes in some Australian and New Zealand plant communities, with geographic comparisonsBiotropica21133147Google Scholar
  84. Woods, P. 1989Effects of logging, droughtand fire on structure and composition of tropical forests in Sabah, MalaysiaBiotropica21290298Google Scholar
  85. Zhang, S. 1995Activity and ranging patterns in relation to fruit availability by Brown Capuchins (Cebus Apella) in French GuianaInt. J. Primatol.16489507Google Scholar
  86. Zhang, S.Y., Wang, L.X. 1995Comparison of 3 Fruit Census Methods in French-GuianaJ. Trop. Ecol.11281294Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations