Plant Ecology

, Volume 164, Issue 1, pp 49–64 | Cite as

Community seed rain patterns and a comparison to adult community structure in a West African tropical forest

  • Britta Denise Hardesty
  • V. Thomas Parker


We examined the seed rain throughout a twelve month period in a lowlandtropical forest in Cameroon, West Africa, 1996–97. Traps (0.5m2, n = 216) were erected throughout a 25km2 area in 24 randomly placed clusters of nine trapseach. Fruits and seeds that landed in traps were collected every 7–10daysand classified by species and dispersal type. More than 32,000 seeds fromapproximately 200 species fell into the traps, an average of 297 seedsm−2 yr−1 Thirty species represent 82%of the total seed rain while an additional 175 species comprise the remaining18%. When we compared the adult community to the seed rain community within thesame plots, we found no apparent correlation between seed rain patterns andadult community structure for this year of study. Furthermore, only 49% of theadult tree community produced and dispersed seed into traps in this year. Morethan 100 species (52%) found in the seed rain represented long-distanceimmigrant seed rain. Seed rain was highly variable at several scales, bothspatially and seasonally, although seeds arrived in traps during eachcollectionperiod. Cluster analyses showed that traps within plots were seldom moresimilarto one another than traps between plots. While 82% of the tree species in thecommunity are thought to be animal dispersed, only 28% of all seeds that fellinto traps had been obviously “handled” (bitten, chewed, or passed)by animals. Tests for fruit and seed removal by predators or dispersers found5%or less removal rate from traps.

Cameroon Seed dispersal Seed predation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Britta Denise Hardesty
    • 1
  • V. Thomas Parker
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Tropical Research and Department of BiologySan Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA

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