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Seed Dispersal by Birds and Bats in Lowland Philippine Forest Successional Area
- Gonzales, Regielene S., Ingle, Nina R., Lagunzad, Daniel A., Nakashizuka, Tohru
- Biotropica 2009 v.41 no.4 pp. 452-458
- Chiroptera, birds, dry season, forest reserves, forest succession, forested watersheds, habitats, seed dispersal, seeds, traps, trees, tropical forests, wet season, Philippines
- In the tropical forests of SE Asia, only a few studies have dealt with the role animal dispersal plays in early forest succession and rehabilitation, and a comparison of bird and bat dispersal is even rarer. We investigated seed dispersal by birds and bats in a successional area in the lowland dipterocarp forest of the Subic Watershed Forest Reserve (SWFR) in Luzon Island, Philippines. Using pairs of day and night traps, we collected seeds during 3 mo of wet season and 3 mo of dry season in a 1.2-ha study site. Bird-dispersed seeds predominated over those dispersed by bats in terms of both seed abundance and number of seed species. The most abundant endozoochorous seed species were significantly biased toward either bird or bat dispersal. Birds and bats appeared to compete more strongly for fruit resources during the dry season than during the wet season, and bats responded more to changes in the seasons than birds did. GLM analyses showed that the factor that had the strongest influence on overall seed distribution was the number of fleshy-fruited trees surrounding the traps, and that the distribution pattern of day-dispersed seeds was affected by more physical factors (number of trees, size of trees, presence of fleshy-fruited and conspecific trees) in the study site than the pattern of night-dispersed seeds were. Given that birds are the more important dispersers in the study site, restoration efforts in SWFR might benefit by focusing on attracting these dispersers into its degraded habitats.