Journal of Tropical Ecology

Short Communication

Synergistic impacts of ungulates and falling palm fronds on saplings in the Amazon

Harald Beck a1c1
a1 Duke University, Center for Tropical Conservation, P.O. Box 90381, Durham, North Carolina 27708-0381, USA and Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, Maryland 21252, USA

Article author query
beck h   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Most seedlings and saplings remain in the forest understorey for decades before becoming adults or dying, and thus may be exposed to various sources of physical disturbance (Clark & Clark 1991, 2001). Because tree species vary in their ability to recover after physical damage (Gillman et al. 2003, Guariguata 1998), this damage can act as an ecological filter and influence the juvenile community structure and species composition (Peters et al. 2004). Studies have demonstrated the occurrence and magnitude of stem breakage in juveniles caused by falling branches and other canopy debris (Clark & Clark 1989, 1991; Gillman & Ogden 2001, Scariot 2000). Surprisingly, little is known about the magnitude and ecological consequences of physical damage to juvenile plants by mammals, particularly large ungulates, including herbivory, trampling and uprooting (Gillman & Ogden 2003, Roldán & Simonetti 2001).

(Accepted May 4 2007)

Key Words: animal–plant interaction; Iriartea deltoidea; litterfall; Manu National Park; peccaries; physical damage; saplings; Tayassuidae; ungulates.

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