In the moist Neotropics, vertebrate frugivores have a much greater role in the dispersal of forest and successional woody plants than wind, and bats rather than birds play the dominant role in dispersing early successional species. I investigated whether these patterns also occurred in a Philippine montane rainforest and adjacent successional vegetation. I also asked whether seed mass was related to probability of dispersal between habitats. A greater number of woody species and stems in the forest produced vertebrate-dispersed seeds than wind-dispersed seeds. Although input of forest seeds into the successional area was dominated by vertebrate-dispersed seeds in terms of species richness, wind-dispersed seeds landed in densities 15 times higher. Frugivorous birds dispersed more forest seeds and species into the successional area than bats, and more successional seeds and species into the forest. As expected, seed input declined with distance from source habitat. Low input of forest seeds into the successional area at the farthest distance sampled, 40 m from forest edge, particularly for vertebrate-dispersed seeds, suggests very limited dispersal out of forest even into a habitat in which woody successional vegetation provides perches and fruit resources. For species of vertebrate-dispersed successional seeds, probability of dispersal into forest declined significantly with seed mass.
Oecologia – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 27, 2003
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