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Seed predation in a human-modified tropical landscape

  • Jenny Zambrano (a1), Rosamond Coates (a2) and Henry F. Howe (a1)

Contemporary defaunation of fragmented forests potentially alters patterns of seed predation and dispersal. Alternatively, the remaining fauna may compensate for missing animals, resulting in equivalent rates of seed dispersal and predation. In the Los Tuxtlas region of southern Mexico, populations of large terrestrial fruit-eating mammals are diminished or absent from many forest remnants. This study reports fruit removal and seed predation patterns of Poulsenia armata (Moraceae), in forest fragments and a continuous forest (LTBS). Contrary to expectation, we found no differences in seed predation (mean ± SD) between LTBS (7.2 ± 1.8 seeds per station) and forest fragments (5.6 ± 1.1). However more fruits were removed in the LTBS (11.4 ± 0.9 fruits per station) than in forest fragments (8.1 ± 0.8). Animal activity, recorded by camera traps, differed between animal guild with fewer seed dispersers in forest fragments (mean = 0.43 ± 0.02 photos wk−1) than in the LTBS (mean = 0.68 ± 0.05). Fruits and seeds attracted many species of mammal (n = 12) in both habitats, indicating substantial redundancy. Remnant forest patches in the Los Tuxtlas landscape retain great ecological value, both as refuges for mammals and habitats for trees, such as P. armata.

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Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
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