Plant-animal interactions in tropical forests maintain local diversity of trees. The loss of these pollinators due to human disturbance could affect the pollination success of these trees and consequently their regeneration and survival. If these trees are keystone species then it could affect the entire community.
This project will determine the effect of pollination by creatures such as bats and primates on the reproductive efficacy of an important keystone tree species at Kakachi in the southern Western Ghats of India. This tree, cullenia exarillata, is dependent on a variety of arboreal mammals including the endangered primate, the Lion tailed macaque. In many areas the arboreal mammals that visit cullenia exarillata are in low density because of severe hunting and forest degradation but it is not known how this affects the tree's survival. Visitation rates and mammal activity on the trees and fruit set will be recorded at both disturbed and undisturbed sites to evaluate the relative pollination success of the trees. By providing long term information, this study could help in restoring lost mammals in degraded ecosystems.