The responses of plant–animal interactions to forest fragmentation can vary. We hypothesized that large-seeded plant species would be more susceptible to forest fragmentation than small-seeded species because large-seeded species rely on a few, extinction prone dispersers. We compared seed dispersal of the large-seeded, mammal dispersed Duckeodendron cestroides and the small-seeded, avian dispersed Bocageopsis multiflora . The number, percentage, distance, and distributions of dispersed seeds were all reduced in fragments for Duckeodendron but not for Bocageopsis . Other fragmentation research in tropical communities supports this hypothesis through three lines of evidence: (1) Large-seeded plant species are more prone to extinction, (2) Fragmentation restricts or alters the movement of large animal dispersers more than small dispersers, and (3) Large and small-seeded species seem to be differentially linked to primary and secondary forest habitats. Therefore, small-seeded plants may be more resilient to forest fragmentation while large-seeded species may be more susceptible and should be a priority for conservation.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2007
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