Integrating seed dispersal and forest restoration; from animal movement to species interactions


Integrating seed dispersal and forest restoration; from animal movement to species interactions

Wed, July 13,  10:30 - 12:30 hrs, Room: 304


Carolina Bello, Sergio Estrada Villegas, Daisy Dent

In this symposium we will explore how integrating current seed dispersal studies with theories of forest succession can help inform forest restoration and natural recovery.

Forest restoration is a priority for limiting biodiversity loss and mitigating climate change (Palmer 2021). Many tropical countries have made voluntary commitments to restore forests over millions of hectares of degraded land through the global Bonn Challenge and regional initiatives (e.g. AFR100 in Africa and Initiative 20 x 20 in Latin America; Buckingham et al. 2016, Fagan et al. 2020). Increasing forest cover through passive (natural regeneration) or active (tree planting) reforestation has the potential to sequester significant amounts of atmospheric CO2 (Cook-Patton et al. 2020, Pearce 2021). However, we still cannot accurately predict trajectories of forest recovery despite expected gains in sequestered carbon. In this symposium we will explore how integrating frugivory interactions and movement ecology with current theories of forest succession can help us predict more accurately the natural recovery of degraded forested landscapes. Forest restoration initiatives tend to focus on tree communities, but community re-assembly depends on feedbacks between animal and plant communities (Dent & Estrada-Villegas 2021). In the tropics, where > 80% of tree species can be dispersed by animals, the interactions between seed sources and dispersers determine seed arrival at regeneration sites (Clark et al. 2007; Dent & Estrada-Villegas 2021). Seed availability in degraded tropical landscapes is dictated by the abundance, location, and species composition of seed sources (Arroyo-Rodríguez et al. 2017). For example, seed source limitation is higher in landscapes with lower tree cover, increased distance to old-growth forests, and higher levels of ongoing disturbance (Chazdon 2014, Werden et al. 2020). Seed dispersal from the source to the regeneration site depends on wind and animal seed dispersers across the landscape. Therefore, the community of seed dispersers, their behavior, diet preference, and movement determine the distribution and composition of seed rain (Howe et al. 2010). Describing and understanding these complex processes is crucial to better predict patterns of recovery during forest restoration. We will bring together a diverse range of speakers, with expertise in frugivore behaviour, seed dispersal modelling, plant-animal interaction networks, movement ecology and secondary forest succession, to present forward-looking talks that will investigate the role of seed dispersal by vertebrates as a key driver of forest succession and restoration. In particular, we will highlight novel methodological and analytical techniques and key areas for interdisciplinary research that will further our understanding of tropical forest regeneration.

The contribution of frugivores to forest restoration in fragmented tropical landscapes
Carolina Bello*, Danielle Ramos, Teresa Lopez, Tom Crowther and Daisy Dent

Habitat use and seed dispersal effectiveness by oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis) in the southern Andes of Colombia
Sasha Cárdenas*, Laura Cardona, Maria Echeverry-Galvis and Pablo Stevenson

Impact of habitat loss on frugivore assemblages and seed dispersal process in human-modified landscapes of Atlantic forest
Eliana Cazetta*, Paulo Guimarães Jr., Fernando Bonfim and Elaine Rios

Seed dispersal by animals recovers quickly during passive restoration
Sergio Estrada Villegas*, Pablo Stevenson, Omar R. Lopez, Saara DeWalt, Liza Comita and Daisy Dent

Frugivore composition influences seedling community composition and the trajectory of forest regeneration
Haldre Rogers* and Evan Fricke

Restoration of plant-animal interactions in terrestrial ecosystems
Luisa Genes* and Rodolfo Dirzo