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Frugivory and seed dispersal of woody species by the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in a mid-elevation tropical evergreen forest in India

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2013

P. S. Jothish*
Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Palode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – 695 562, India


Frugivory and seed dispersal by the Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, in a mid-elevation tropical evergreen forest in India was studied by dung analysis and conducting seed germination trials on ingested and control seeds. A total of 384 dung piles were observed during the period February 2007 to December 2008. Fruits/seeds and seedlings of 27 woody species were observed from the dung piles. Seed germination experiments showed that seeds from dung were viable and germination time of ingested seeds was significantly lower than that of control seeds. It was observed that 43.6% of the seedlings in the dung piles established as saplings. The study suggests that the Asian elephant is a legitimate seed disperser in tropical forests in its range.

Short Communication
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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