Bird perches for seed dispersion in disturbed dry mountain forests: Implications for Ecological Restoration

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Viviana Berrios, Fernanda Martínez-Gálvez , Johanna Croce , Carolina Trigo , Marina Díaz-Leguizamon , Andrés Tálamo, Enrique Derlindati

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Large areas of subtropical dry mountain forests at northwest Argentine have been transformed into mountain pastures due to cattle ranching and intentional fires. Restoration of these degraded areas depends on seed dispersal from the forest remnants, dispersion mediated mainly by birds. Artificial perches are a useful ecological restoration tool because they increment the structure of the standing vegetation and encourage disperser birds to alight. We placed artificial bird perches to restore a degraded area at Campo Alegre Private Provincial Reserve at northwest Argentine. We aim to know which plant species reach the perches through the seed rain generated by birds. We placed six experimental units where we installed four artificial bird perches and four control treatments. Under each perch and control area we placed a 0.56 m2 seed trap and we collected seeds every 15 days during two consecutive summer seasons (2018-2020). All the species collected were native. Only 2 ornithocoric seeds we found in control areas. In contrast, under bird perches we collected 4994 ornithocoric seeds in total. The most abundant species was the shrub Rubus imperialis, but we also found six tree species (Scutia buxiflora, Zanthoxylum coco, Schinus mirtyfolius, Sapium haematospermum, Allophylus edulis, Blepharocalyx salicifolius). Although seed dispersion is increased by artificial perching, it is important to evaluate if such seeds are capable to germinate and establish in the disturbed areas.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program