Advertisement

Plant Ecology

, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 51–62 | Cite as

Seed arrival under different genera of trees in a neotropical pasture

  • Matthew G. Slocum
  • Carol C. Horvitz
Article

Abstract

Trees in pastures attract seed dispersers, leading to increased seed arrival under their canopies and more rapid regrowth around them. The characteristics that make some trees better `recruitment foci' than others, however, are poorly understood. In a neotropical pasture, we examined the arrival of seeds to open areas and underneath four genera of trees that varied in canopy architecture and type of fruit produced: Ficus trees had dense canopies and fleshy fruits, Pentaclethra trees had dense canopies and dry fruits, Cecropia trees had sparse canopies and fleshy fruits, and Cordia trees had sparse canopies and dry fruits. We found that all trees received more seeds than open pasture, probably because trees provided seed dispersers with better perches, protection from predators, nesting sites, etc. Among the tree genera, more seeds arrived under trees that produced fleshy fruits than trees that did not. This occured even during periods when trees were not fruiting (i.e., non-fruiting Ficus and Cecropia trees received more seeds than Cordia or Pentaclethra trees). Seed dispersers may periodically check Ficus and Cecropia trees for fruits, or they may become familiar with these trees while feeding and thereafter use them for other reasons. Height of trees had a slight positive effect on seed arrival, possibly because taller trees offered more protection from predators. Canopy architecture and distance to forest edge did not significantly affect seed arrival. This study demonstrates that trees in general are potentially important recruitment foci, but that different types of trees vary in the kind of recruitment that they foster in pastures.

Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica Finca La Suerte Recruitment foci Seed dispersal Tropical forest regeneration Tropical pastures 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Archer, S., Scifres, C. H., Bassham, C. R. & Maggio, R. 1988. Autogenic succession in a subtropical savanna: conversion of grassland to thorn woodland. Ecol. Monog. 58: 111–127.Google Scholar
  2. Archer, S. & Smeins, F. E. 1991. Ecosystem-level processes. Pp. 109-139. In: Heitschmidt, R. K. & Stuth, J. W. (eds), Grazing management: an ecological perspective. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.Google Scholar
  3. Barton, A. M. 1984. Neotropical pioneer and shade-tolerant tree species: do they partition tree-fall gaps? J. Tropical Ecol. 25: 196–202.Google Scholar
  4. Belsky, A. J., Amundson, R. G., Duxbury, J. M., Riha, S. J., Ali, A. R. & Mwonga, S. M. 1989. The effects of trees on their physical, chemical, and biological environments in a semi-arid savanna in Kenya. J. Applied Ecol. 26: 1005–1024.Google Scholar
  5. Bronstein, J. L. & Hoffman, K. 1987. Spatial and temporal variation in frugivory at a Neotropical fig, Ficus pertusa. Oikos 49: 261–268.Google Scholar
  6. Charles Dominique, P. 1986. Inter-relations between frugivorous vertebrates and pioneer plants: Cecropia, birds and ants in French Guyana. Pp. 119–135. In: Estrada, A. & Fleming, T. H. (eds), Frugivores and seed dispersal. Dr.W. Junk, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, D. A. 1994. Plant demography. Pp. 90–105. In: McDade, L. A., Bawa, K. S., Hespenheide, H. A. & Hartshorn, G. S. (eds), La Selva: ecology and natural history of a Neotropical rain forest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  8. Croat, T. B. 1978. Flora of Barro Colorado Island. Standford University Press, Standford, California.Google Scholar
  9. Estrada, A. & Coates-Estrada, R. 1986. Frugivory by howling monkeys (Aluoatta palliata) at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico: dispersal and fate of seeds. Pp. 93–104. In: Estrada, A. & Fleming, T. H. (eds), Frugivores and seed dispersal. Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  10. Fleming, T. H. & Heithaus, E. R. 1981. Frugivorous bats, seed shadows, and the structure of tropical forests. Biotropica Suppl. (Reproductive Botany) 13: 45–53.Google Scholar
  11. Fleming, T. H. & Williams, C. F. 1990. Phenology, seed dispersal, and recruitment in Cecropia peltata (Moraceae) in Costa Rican tropical dry forest. J. Tropical Ecol. 6: 163–178.Google Scholar
  12. Gorchov, D. L., Cornejo, F., Ascorra, C. & Jaramillo, M. 1993. The role of seed dispersal in the natural regeneration of rain forest after strip-cutting in the Peruvian Amazon. Vegetatio 107/108: 339–349.Google Scholar
  13. Guevara, S. & Laborde, J. 1993. Monitoring seed dispersal at isolated standing trees in tropical pastures; consequences for local species availability. Pp. 319–338. In: Fleming, T. H. & Estrada, A. (eds), Frugivory and seed dispersal: ecological and evolutionary aspects. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Belgium.Google Scholar
  14. Guevara, S., Meave, J., Moreno-Casasola, P. & Laborde, J. 1992. Floristic composition and structure of vegetation under isolated trees in neotropical pastures. J. Veg. Sci. 3: 655–664.Google Scholar
  15. Guevara, S., Purata, S. & Van der Maarel, E. 1986. The role of remnant trees in tropical secondary succession. Vegetatio 66: 74–84.Google Scholar
  16. Holdridge, L. 1967. Life zone ecology. Tropical Science Center, San Jose, Costa Rica.Google Scholar
  17. Holl, K. D. 1998. Do bird perching structures elevate seed rain and seedling establishment in abandoned tropical pasture? Rest. Ecol. 6: 253–261.Google Scholar
  18. Howe, H. F. & Richter, W. M. 1982. Effects of seed size on seedling size in Virola surinamensis; a within and between tree analysis. Oecologia 53: 347–351.Google Scholar
  19. Howell, D. C. 1987. Statistical methods for psychology. PWS-Kent Publishing Company, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  20. Janzen, D. H. 1981. Enterolobium cyclocarpum seed passage rate and survival in horses, Costa Rican Pleistocene seed dispersal agents. Ecology 63: 593–601.Google Scholar
  21. Janzen, D. H. 1988. Management of habitat fragments in a tropical dry forest: growth. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gardens 75: 105–116.Google Scholar
  22. Kellman, M. 1979. Soil enrichment by neotropical savanna trees. J. Ecol. 67: 565–577.Google Scholar
  23. Ledec, G. 1992. New directions for livestock policy: an environmental perspective. Pp. 27–65. In: Downing, T. E., Hecht, S. B., Pearson, H. A. & Garcia-Downing, C. (eds), Development or destruction: the conversion of tropical forest to pasture in Latin America. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.Google Scholar
  24. McClanahan, T. R. & Wolfe, R. W. 1987. Dispersal of ornithochorous seeds from forest edges in Central Florida. Vegetatio 71: 107–112.Google Scholar
  25. McDonnell, M. J. 1986. Old field vegetation height and the dispersal pattern of bird-disseminated woody plants. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 113: 6–11.Google Scholar
  26. McDonnell, M. J. & Stiles, E. W. 1983. The structural complexity of old field vegetation and the recruitment of bird-dispersed plant species. Oecologia 56: 109–116.Google Scholar
  27. Nepstad, D. C., Uhl, C., Pereira, C. A. & Cardoso da Silva, J. M. 1996. A comparative study of tree establishment in abandoned pasture and mature forest of eastern Amazonia. Oikos 76: 25–39.Google Scholar
  28. Nepstad, D., Uhl, C. & Serrão, E. A. S. 1991. Recuperation of a degraded Amazonian landscape: forest recovery and agricultural restoration. Ambio 20: 248–255.Google Scholar
  29. Putz, F. E. 1983. Treefall pits and mounds, buried seeds, and the importance of soil disturbance to pioneer trees on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ecology 64: 1069–1074.Google Scholar
  30. Robinson, G. R. & Handel, S. N. 1993. Forest restoration on a closed landfill: rapid addition of new species by bird dispersal. Cons. Biol. 7: 271–278.Google Scholar
  31. Slocum, M. G. 1997. Reforestation in a Neotropical pasture: differences in the ability of four tree taxa to function as recruitment foci. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Miami, Florida.Google Scholar
  32. Stoorvogel, J. J. & G. P. Eppink. 1995. Atlas de la zona Atlantica Norte de Costa Rica. CATIE-UAW-MAG, Guapiles, Costa Rica.Google Scholar
  33. Terborgh, J. 1986. Community aspects of frugivory in tropical forests. Pp. 371–384. In: Estrada, A. & Fleming, T. H. (eds), Frugivores and seed dispersal. Dr. W. Junk, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  34. Thomas, D.W., Cloutier, D., Provencher, M. & Houle, C. 1988. The shape of bird-and bat-generated seed shadows around a tropical fruiting tree. Biotropica 20: 347–348.Google Scholar
  35. Uhl, C. & Clark, K. 1983. Seed ecology of selected Amazon basin successional species. Botanical Gazette 144: 419–425.Google Scholar
  36. Vieira, I. C. G., Uhl, C. & Nepstad, D. 1994. The role of the shrub Cordia multispicata Cham. as a 'succession facilitator' in an abandoned pasture, Paragominas, Amazonia. Vegetatio 115: 91–99.Google Scholar
  37. Wegner, J. F. & Merriam, G. 1979. Movements of birds and small mammals between a wood and adjoining farmland habitats. J. Appl. Ecol. 16: 349–357.Google Scholar
  38. Wilbur, R. L. 1990. Lista preliminar de las plantas vasculares de la Estació n Bioló gica La Selva, Costa Rica. Edició n XV. La Selva Biological Field Station, Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica.Google Scholar
  39. Williams-Linera, G. & Ewel, J. J. 1984. Effect of autoclave sterilization of a tropical andept on seed germination and seedling growth. Plant Soil 82: 263–268.Google Scholar
  40. Willis, E. O. 1974. Populations and local extinctions of birds on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ecol. Monog. 44: 153–169.Google Scholar
  41. Zar, J. H. 1984. Biostatistical analysis (2nd edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  42. Zimmerman, J. K., Aide, T. M., Rosario, M., Serrano, M. & Herrera, L. 1995. Effects of land management and a recent hurricane on forest structure and composition in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Forest Ecol. Manag. 77: 65–76.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew G. Slocum
    • 1
  • Carol C. Horvitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Personalised recommendations