Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 490567
Title Loss of animal seed dispersal increases extinction risk in a tropical tree species due to pervasive negative density dependence across life stages
Author(s) Caughlin, T.T.; Ferguson, J.M.; Lichstein, J.W.; Zuidema, P.A.; Bunyavejchewin, S.; Levey, D.J.
Source Proceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences 282 (2015)1798. - ISSN 0962-8452 - 9 p.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2095
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Keyword(s) spatial-patterns - rain-forest - recruitment - consequences - neighborhood - defaunation - habitat - uncertainty - diversity - abundance
Abstract Overhunting in tropical forests reduces populations of vertebrate seed dispersers. If reduced seed dispersal has a negative impact on tree population viability, overhunting could lead to altered forest structure and dynamics, including decreased biodiversity. However, empirical data showing decreased animal-dispersed tree abundance in overhunted forests contradict demographic models which predict minimal sensitivity of tree population growth rate to early life stages. One resolution to this discrepancy is that seed dispersal determines spatial aggregation, which could have demographic consequences for all life stages. We tested the impact of dispersal loss on population viability of a tropical tree species, Miliusa horsfieldii, currently dispersed by an intact community of large mammals in a Thai forest. We evaluated the effect of spatial aggregation for all tree life stages, from seeds to adult trees, and constructed simulation models to compare population viability with and without animal-mediated seed dispersal. In simulated populations, disperser loss increased spatial aggregation by fourfold, leading to increased negative density dependence across the life cycle and a 10-fold increase in the probability of extinction. Given that the majority of tree species in tropical forests are animal-dispersed, overhunting will potentially result in forests that are fundamentally different from those existing now.
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