Edge effects in recruitment of trees, and relationship to seed dispersal patterns, in cleared strips in the Peruvian Amazon
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- Gorchov, D.L., Rondon, X.J., Cornejo, F. et al. Ecol Res (2013) 28: 53. doi:10.1007/s11284-012-0999-4
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We investigated the spatial pattern of tree recruitment 15 years after clear-cutting in two logged strips in the Peruvian Amazon, focusing on differences between seed dispersal modes and cohorts, and relating these to spatial patterns of seed dispersal in the years immediately following clearing. Most trees that recruited in logged strips belonged to taxa dispersed by birds or nonvolant mammals, with smaller numbers dispersed by bats or wind. Seed dispersal patterns differed, with few mammal-dispersed seeds reaching strips, bird-dispersed seeds more abundant near the forest edge than strip centers, and bat- and wind-dispersed seeds more evenly distributed. However, this pattern was not reflected in the tree recruits, except in the deferment cut half of strip 2. Different dispersal modes were differentially represented in different cohorts; for example, in strip 1 bird-dispersed trees predominated in early cohorts, while trees dispersed by nonvolant mammals predominated in later cohorts. Our finding that trees dispersed by mammals (which disperse the majority of commercial trees in Amazonia) successfully regenerate from seed in the interior of logged strips highlights the value of maintaining these animals in forest management systems.