Journal of Tropical Ecology

Fruit biomass and relative abundance of frugivores in a rain forest of southern Western Ghats, India

T.  Ganesh a1c1 and Priya  Davidar a1
a1 Sálim Ali School of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University, Kalapet, Pondicherry 605 014, India


Fruit biomass and frugivore abundance were quantified over 3 y in a rain forest of the south Western Ghats, India. Fruit biomass was estimated by sampling fruit fall in the primary forest, and frugivore abundance by a 2.5-km transect. A total of 645 kg ha−1 of fruit was produced annually in the forest. Only 49% of this is edible to the frugivores and the remaining 51% is in the form of non-edible husks. Mammalian frugivores outnumbered avian frugivores and the majority of the mammals were seed predators. The total fruit biomass produced at Kakachi is lower than in the lowland forest and mountain forests in the neotropics but higher than in the wet sclerophyll forest of Australia. Lower diversity of trees and edaphic factors at Kakachi could be some of the reasons for these differences. On the other hand, paucity of fleshy fruits, low density of trees producing fleshy fruits and irregular fruiting of these species, account for the low number of obligate avian frugivores at Kakachi.

(Accepted February 6 1999)

Key Words: fruit biomass; frugivores; relative abundance; seed predators; Western Ghats; wet forests.

c1 Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, 11, 4th Main, 1st stage M.S.H. layout, Anandnagar, Bangalore-560 024, India. Fax: 91-80-3530070