Comparing and contrasting flooded and unflooded forests in Western Amazonia: seed predation, seed pathogens, germination

Abstract

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.

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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

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Keywords

  • Ecuador
  • Igapó
  • Palm
  • Peru
  • Terra firme
  • Várzea
  • White sand