Centro de Ecologia, UNAM A.P. 70-275 Mexico 04510 D.F. Mexico ALVARO MIRANDA Centro de Ecologia, UNAM A.P. 70-275 Mexico 04510 D.F. Mexico A series of long-term studies on the demography of tree seedlings and patterns of herbivory in the forest understory have been carried out at the Los Tuxtlas Tropical Research Station (southern Veracruz, Mexico) (see de la Cruz & Dirzo 1987;Dirzo 1984, 1987;Dirzo & Miranda 1990; Nufiez-Farfih & Dirzo 1988). As a result of these studies, a number of features of this forestâs understory became evident which, we believe, support Terborghâs contention (1988) that the âbig [animal]thingsâ of the tropical forest play an important though largely unappreciated role in the diversity and structure of these natural systems. Such features of the forest understory at Los Tuxtlas include the following (1) A consistently low or total absence of damage by folivorous vertebrates. Practically none of the seedlings, which were individually marked and monitored for several years, show evidence of damage, other than by invertebrates (insects in several orders). Moreover, none of our permanent plots has shown damage by trampling, which is characteristic of other areas of tropical Mexico in which tapirs, white- Paper submitted March 8, 1990; revised
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1990
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