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Decreased frugivory and seed germination rate do not reduce seedling recruitment rates of Aristotelia chilensis in a fragmented forest

  • Carlos E. Valdivia
  • Javier A. Simonetti
Original Paper

Abstract

Habitat fragmentation reduces frugivorous bird abundance. Such a reduction may lead to a reduction in seed dispersal, thereby compromising seedling recruitment rate with far reaching consequences for plant population persistence. We assessed frugivory, seed germination, and seedling recruitment rates in a fragmented forest of central Chile by comparing a continuous forest with four forest fragments surrounded by pine plantations. Frugivory was 2.4 times higher in continuous forest than in forest fragments. Seeds eaten by birds germinated 1.7 and 3.7 times higher than non-eaten seeds from continuous forest and fragments respectively. Non-eaten seeds from continuous forest germinated 2.2 times higher than those from forest fragments, suggesting inbreeding depression. However, seedling recruitment rates at forest fragments were far higher than in continuous forest where no seedling recruited in the five years analysed. Therefore, despite forest fragmentation negatively affected frugivory, it did not translate into a decreased fitness of plants, thus highlighting the importance of considering the overall processes leading the reproductive success of plants following anthropogenic disturbances.

Keywords

Forest fragmentation Avian frugivory Seed quality Seedling recruitment rates 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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