|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||19 Jan 2005|
In this study I propose to investigate how forest fragmentation affect plant-animal interactions such as seed dispersal and herbivoy as well as how disruptions on these process affect the long term maintenance of tree diversity in a fragmented landscape in a South-eastern Mexican tropical forest also known as Mayan forest. I will measure diferential seed dispersal rates, seedling recruitment and herbivory on tree seedlings within forest fragments with different sizes and fauna composition. First, several forest fragments of different sizes as well as a control area of continuous forest will be characterized in terms of floristic and fauna composition.
Second, during one year, monthly seed rain surveys within fragments and control site will characterize seed dispersal rates in terms of: seed size and dispersal syndrome in order to relate it with fragment size and disperser fauna composition. Third, seedling recruitment will be assessed in terms of the percentage of seedlings emerged from dispersed seeds. Fourth, differential herbivory on seedlings originated from dispersed vs. non-dispersed seeds will be compared among fragments to test the effects of disruptions on seed delivery and recruitment on the maintenance of tree seedling diversity.
The main goal of this project is to assess how tropical forest fragmentation and defaunation affect the long term maintenance of tree species diversity in a tropical fragmented landscape. Results will document the consequences of the loss and/or alterations of plant-animal interactions on plant recruitment and, potentially, future trajectories of tropical forest tree diversity. This information in turn can help plan conservation strategies based on the maintenance of ecological processes such as biotic interactions for one of the most endangered and diverse tropical forests of the world.
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