Because of the importance of the Amazon to our shared human future and because we need to understand how its forests regenerate, I set out seeds for a week in igapó, palm, terra firme, várzea and white sand forests and then collected them, scoring seed losses to predators, seed losses to pathogens and seeds that germinated. I found (1) terra firme forest, white sand forest, várzea forest and igapó forest under water 1 month every year, were significantly different for seed mechanisms and tolerances, terra firme forest, palm forest, várzea forest and igapó forest under water 1 month per year, were significantly different among species, and the interaction term was significant for all forests except for the two most flooded igapó forests, (2) in terra firme forest seed predators took most seeds regardless of species, (3) in palm forest species were different regardless of seed mechanism and tolerance, (4) in white sand forest seed predators took most seeds regardless of species, (5) in várzea forest seed predators took most seeds but with some species differences and (6) in igapó forest under water 1 month per year, there were differences in predation, pathogens and germination, and in species variation. I conclude that seed predation losses strength as forests become more stressed either by loss of soil fertility or by flooding with nutrient-poor water. Conversely seed pathogens become more important with water-logged soils and with flooding. Seed loss variation among species within forests was always a secondary factor.
Choo, J.P.S., R.V. Martinez and E.W. Stiles. 2007. Diversity and abundance of plants with flowers and fruits from October 2001 to September 2002 in Paucarillo Reserve, Northeastern Amazon. Peru Revisita Peru Biology 14:25–31.
Cintra, R. 1997. Leaf litter effects on seed and seedling predators of the palm Astrocaryum murumura and the legume tree Dipteryx micrantha in Amazonian forest. J. Trap. Ecol. 13:709–725.
Culot, L., M. Huuynen, P. Gerard and E.W. Heymann. 2009. Short-term post-dispersal fate of seeds defecated by two small primate species (Saguinus mystax and S. fuscicollis) in the Amazonian forest of Peru. J. Trop. Ecol. 25:229–238.
Daly, D.C. and G.T. Prance. 1989. Brazilian Amazon. In: Floristic Inventory of Tropical Countries. NY Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY. pp. 401–126.
Duivenvoorden, J.F., H. Balslev, J. Cavelier, C. Grandez, H. Tuomisto and R. Valencia. 2001. Evaluacion do recursos vegetales no maderables en la Amazonia noroccidental. The Netherlands Centre for Geo-ecological Research (ICG), The Netherlands.
Everham, E.M. III., R.W. Myster and G. VanDegnachte. 1996. Effects of light, moisture, temperature, and litter on the regeneration of five tree species in the tropical montane wet forest of Puerto Rico. Amer. J. Bot. 83:1063–1068.
Frederickson, M.E., M.J. Greene and D.M. Gordon. 2005. ‘Devil’s garden’ bedeviled by ants. Nature 437:495–196.
Gentry, A.H. 1966. A Field Guide to the Families and Genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago.
Grubb, P.J. 1977. The maintenance of species richness in plant communities: the importance of the regeneration niche. Biol. Rev. Cambridge Phil. Soc. 52:107–111.
Holdridge, L.R. 1967. Life Zone Ecology. Tropical Science Center, San Jose, CR.
Hulme, P.E. 1994. Post-dispersal seed predation in grassland: its magnitude and sources of variation. J. Ecol. 82:645–652.
Honorio, EN. 2006. Floristic relationships of the tree flora of Jenaro Herrera, an unusual Area of the Peruvian Amazon. M.Sc. thesis, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
Junk, W.J. 1997. The Central Amazon Floodplain — Ecology of a Pulsing System. Springer, Berlin. Ecological studies 126.
Kalliola, R.S., M. Jukka, M. Puhakkaa and M. Rajasilta. 1991. New site formation and colonizing vegetation in primary succession on the western Amazon floodplains. J. Ecol. 79:877–901.
Keller, M., A. Alencar, A. Asner et al. 2004. Ecological research in the large-scale biosphere atmosphere experiment in Amazonia: Early results. Ecol. App. 14:S3–S16.
Losos, E.C. and E.C. Leigh. 2004. Forest Diversity and Dynamism: Findings from a Network of Large-scale Tropical Forests Plots. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Metz, M.R., L.S. Comita, Y.Y. Chen, N. Norden, R. Condit and S.P. Hubbell. 2008. Temporal and spatial variability in seedling dynamics: a cross-site comparison in four lowland tropical forests. J. Trop. Ecol. 24:9–18.
Moreau, C.S. 2008. Unraveling the evolutionary history of the hyperdiverse ant genus Pheidole (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Mol. Phys. Evol. 48:224–239.
Muller-Landau, H.C., S.J. Wright, O. Calderon, R. Condit and S.P. Hubbell. 2008. Interspecific variation in primary seed dispersal in a tropical forest. J. Ecol. 96:653–667.
Myster, R.W. 2007. Interactive effects of flooding and forest gap formation on composition and abundance in the Peruvian Amazon. Folia Geobot. 42:1–9.
Myster, R.W. 2009. Plant communities of western Amazonia. Bot. Rev. 75:271–291.
Myster, R.W. 2010. Flooding duration and treefall interactive effects on plant community richness, structure and alpha diversity in the Peruvian Amazon. Ecotropica 16:43–49.
Myster, R.W. 2012a. Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of light and soil water along a terra firme transect in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Can. J. For. Res. 42:1–4
Myster, R.W. 2012b. Plants replacing plants: the future of community modeling and research. Bot. Rev. 78:2–9.
Myster, R.W. 2013. The effects of flooding on forest floristics and physical structure in the Amazon: results from two permanent plots. Forest Res. 2:112.
Myster, R.W. 2014. Interactive effects of flooding and treefall gap formation on terre firme forest seed and seedling mechanisms and tolerances in the Amazon. Community Ecol. 15:212–221.
Myster, R.W. 2015a. Várzea forest vs. terra firme forest floristics and physical structure in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Ecotropica 20:35–44.
Myster, R.W. 2015b. Comparing and contrasting eight different flooded and non-flooded forests in the Peruivan Amazon: seed rain. New Zealand J. For. Sci. 45:5.
Myster, R.W. 2015c. Flooding x tree fall gap interactive effects on black-water forest floristics and physical structure in the Peruvian Amazon. J. Plant Interactions 23:12–25.
Myster, R.W. 2015d. Seed predation, pathogens and germination in primary vs. secondary cloud forest at Maquipucuna Reserve, Ecuador. J. Trop. Ecol. 31:375–378.
Myster, R.W. 2016a. The physical structure of Amazon forests: a review. Bot. Rev. 82:407–427.
Myster, R. W. 2016b. Black-water forests (igapó) vs. white-water forests (várzea) in the Amazon: floristics and physical structure. The Biologist (Lima) 13:391–106.
Myster, R.W. 2017. Does the seed rain limit recruitment, regeneration and plant community dynamics? Ideas Ecol. Evol. 10:1–12.
Myster R.W. and P.G. Santa Cruz. 2005. Una comparación de campo de insectos de suelo-morar de Amazonas: Tierra firme y bosques de tierras inundadas vs. espacios abiertos en el Parque Nacional Yasuní, Ecuador. Revista Pontanti Universidad Católica 76:111–124
Paine, C.E.T. and H. Beck. 2007. Seed predation by Neotropical rainforest mammals increases diversity in seedling recruitment. Ecology 88:3076–3087.
Parolin, P., O. Desimobne, K. Haase K. et al. 2004. Central Amazonian floodplain forests: tree adaptations in a pulsing system. Bot.Rev. 70:357–380.
Pires, J.M. and G.T. Prance. 1985. The vegetation types of the Brazilian Amazon. In: G.T. Prance and T.E. Lovejoy (eds.). Amazonia. Pergamon Press, Oxford. pp 109–145.
Pitman, N.C., J.W. Terborgh, M.R. Silman, P.V. Nunez, D.A. Neill, C.E. Ceron, W.A. Palacios and M. Aulestia. 2001. Dominance and distribution of tree species in upper Amazonian terra firme forests. Ecology 82:2101–2117.
Prance, G.T. 1979. Notes on the vegetation of Amazonia III. The terminology of Amazonian forest types subject to inundation. Brittonia 31:26–38.
Pringle, E.G., P. Alvarez-Loayzu and J. Terborgh. 2007. Seed characteristics and susceptibility to pathogen attack in tree seeds of the Peruvian Amazon. Plant Ecol. 193:211–222.
Romo, M., H. Tuomisto and B.A. Loiselle. 2004. On the density-dependence of seed predators in Dipteryx micrantha, a bat-dispersed rain forest tree. Oecologia 140:76–85.
Russo, S.E. 2005. Linking seed fate to natural dispersal patterns: factors affecting predation and scatter-hoarding of Virola calophylla seeds in Peru. J. Trop. Ecol. 21:243–253.
SAS 1985. User’s Guide: Statistics, Ver. 5. SAS Institute Inc. Cary, NC. 956 pp.
Spichiger, R., P. Loizeau, C. Latour and G. Barriera. 1996. Tree species richness of a South-Western Amazonian forest (Jenaro Herrera, Peru, 73°40’W/4°54’S). Candollea 51:559–577.
Svenning, J.C. 1999. Microhabitat specialization in a species-rich palm community in Amazonian Ecuador. J. Ecol. 87:55–65.
Tuomisto, H., K. Ruokolainen, A.D. Poulsen, R.C. Moran, C. Quintata, G. Canas and J. Cell. 2002. Distribution and diversity of Pteridophytes and Melastomataceae along edaphic gradients in Yasuni National Park, Ecuadorian Amazonia. Biotropica 34:516–533.
Tuomisto, H., K. Ruokolainen and M. Yli-Halla. 2003. Dispersal, environment and Floristic variation of Western Amazonian forests. Science 299:241–244.
Valencia, R., R.B. Foster, G. Villa, T.R. Condit, J. Svenning, C. Hernandez, K. Romoleroux, E. Losos, E. Magard and S.L. Balslev. 2004. Tree species distributions and local habitat variation in the Amazon: large forest plot in eastern Ecuador. J. Ecol. 92:214–229.
VanderWall S.B., K.M. Kuhn and M.J. Beck. 2005. Seed removal, seed predation, and secondary dispersal. Ecology 86:801–806.
Walter, H. 1973. Vegetation of the Earth and the Ecological Systems of the Geo-Biosphere. Springer, Berlin.
About this article
Cite this article
Myster, R.W. Comparing and contrasting flooded and unflooded forests in Western Amazonia: seed predation, seed pathogens, germination. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY 18, 169–174 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1556/168.2017.18.2.6
- Terra firme
- White sand