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Title: Tiptoeing between restoration and invasion: seed rain into natural gaps within a highly invaded relic forest in the Azores
Authors: Parejo, Sandra Hervías 
Ceia, Ricardo S. 
Ramos, J. A. 
Keywords: Azores; Exotic seeds; Frugivores; Fruit caloric content; Landslides; Perches; Seed dispersal
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Serial title, monograph or event: European Journal of Forest Research
Volume: 133
Issue: 2
Abstract: The last remains of native laurel forest in the Azores are highly threatened by the spread of invasive plants. Because landslides are very frequent in these islands, conservation of native laurel forest requires knowledge of the patterns of bird-dispersed seed rain into forest gaps. We monitored 78 seed traps over 1 year to investigate (1) the role of perches in attracting avian dispersers into gaps, (2) temporal patterns in the dispersal of exotic and native seeds, (3) how seed rain affects vegetation establishment in gaps at different distances from the native forest and (4) whether the caloric content of fruits could explain the number of seeds dispersed. Perches were highly effective in concentrating avian seed dispersal. While some native fruits are produced all year-round, most exotic plants set fruits during the main peak of the native fruit production (August–November). Most seeds recovered from the traps were native, and native seed rain inside the native forest was higher than in gaps. However, deposition of exotic seeds was not affected by distance from native forest. Seed dispersal frequencies monitored by seed traps and by faecal analysis were correlated with each other, but not with fruit caloric content, suggesting that other factors are more important that the nutritional value in predicting avian fruit choice. Forest restoration activities should take into consideration that seed dispersal decreases sharply beyond 100 m from native forest and the attractive potential of perches to direct natural seed dispersal into forest gaps.
DOI: 10.1007/s10342-013-0769-z
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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