Ants plant tomorrow’s rainforest – Gallegos, Hensen & Schleuning

The Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre  (BiK-F) have published a press release on  a paper published in Journal of Ecology,“Secondary dispersal by ants promotes forest regeneration after deforestation” by Gallegos, Hensen & Schleuning

The press release can be accessed via this link and the authors have provided a summary of their paper below.

Secondary dispersal promotes reforestation

Most of the plants in the tropics depend on seed dispersal by animals. Secondary dispersal by invertebrates has the potential to modify patterns of primary seed deposition but has rarely been investigated in studies of forest regeneration. We studied the importance of secondary dispersal by ants in deforested habitats in the Bolivian Andes with a seed addition experiment. We found that seed dispersal by ants promoted germination and the recruitment of seedlings in the deforested areas, probably due to directed dispersal to suitable microhabitats.  This shows that inconspicuous seed dispersal agents, such as ants, can be crucial for promoting plant recruitment and the regeneration of degraded habitats. The overlooked process of secondary dispersal has the potential to aid reforestation measures by seed addition in tropical forests.

Gallegos_Photo JEcol-2013-0591.R3

Silvia C. Gallegos

 

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