What is it about?

Seed dispersal by fruit-eating animals is important for plants living in fragmented landscapes, where forest remnants are typically surrounded by a matrix of agricultural fields and rangelands. A new study published in PNAS reveals how frugivore communities change from forest to matrix due to the replacement of species with traits that are less advantageous in open habitats and that such changes ultimately influence the composition and traits of dispersed plants via species interactions

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Why is it important?

The reported seed-dispersal patterns should influence early regenerating plant communities in the forest and in unmanaged areas of the matrix. Thus, the study highlights the importance of the biodiversity reservoirs of forest remnants and the seed-dispersal services provided by frugivorous animals for ecosystem resilience in fragmented landscapes, that is, for forest recovery after deforestation. The findings of the study reveal a high potential for passive forest restoration in unmanaged agricultural lands and over short distances from nearby forest remnants. The authors suggest that active restoration efforts should focus on planting isolated trees (if lacking) as focal areas for recovery and on those plant species that are poorly dispersed through the matrix. However, they also highlight the susceptibility of the matrix to plant invasions mediated by matrix-dwelling frugivores

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Frugivore-mediated seed dispersal in fragmented landscapes: Compositional and functional turnover from forest to matrix, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2302440120.
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