How resilient and generalist frugivores can surrogate specialized ones as seed dispersers in ecological restoration

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Eduardo D.B. Rigacci , Cristiane P. Zaniratto, José O.V. Ferreira , Jasmim F. Oliveira , Maria E.F.Morandi, Jéssica G. Killing, Larissa G. Nunes , Laura, B. Abreu , Natalia D. Paes , Gabriel Moreira Félix and Wesley Rodrigues Silva

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One of the most ubiquitous plant-animal interactions mediated by vertebrates in the tropics is seed dispersal. In most restoring sites and urban fragments, forest-generalist partial frugivores represent the bulk of animal biomass, even though their potential as seed dispersers is disregarded in most restoration efforts. Our study aimed to propose a technique named Induced Seed Dispersal (ISD), aiming to amplify the role of generalist frugivorous in seed dispersal in a restoration context. As this technique was primarily intended for the enrichment of restored or degraded areas, we chose two experimental situations that represent a common environmental scenario in the Atlantic rain forest of Brazil: a heavily degraded 251-ha forest fragment and a 447-ha restored site. We kept suspended and ground feeding stations for more than a year (figure 1). Weekly, on the degraded fragment, we offered fleshy native fruits whereas, on the restored site, we provided fleshy commercial fruits (e.g., bananas) with seeds of Cecropia hololeuca (Urticaceae) embedded in the pulp and also some native fleshy fruits. On both sites, trail cameras monitored the frugivore’s visits. In total, 2928 fruits were consumed or removed, 830 in the degraded fragment, and 2098 in the restored area. At least 30 generalist frugivorous species (mammals, birds, and one reptile) interacted with the fruits offered in the feeders in both study sites combined. Our study consolidated a pathway to employ and consider resilient generalist frugivores as essential allies in restoration efforts in tropical regions.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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