Seed Banks in Savanna, Forest Fragments, and Continuous Forest Edges Differ in a Tropical Dry Forest in Madagascar

Published

Journal Article

© 2015 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Rapid deforestation has fragmented habitat across the landscape of Madagascar. To determine the effect of fragmentation on seed banks and the potential for forest regeneration, we sampled seed viability, density and diversity in 40 plots of 1 m2 in three habitat types: forest fragments, the near edge of continuous forest, and deforested savanna in a highly fragmented dry deciduous forest landscape in northwestern Madagascar. While seed species diversity was not different between forest fragments and continuous forest edge, the number of animal-dispersed seeds was significantly higher in forest fragments than in continuous forest edge, and this pattern was driven by a single, small-seeded species. In the savanna, seeds were absent from all but three of the 40 plots, indicating that regeneration potential is low in these areas. Several pre- and post-dispersal biotic and abiotic factors, including variation in the seed predator communities and edge effects could explain these findings. Understanding the extent to which seed dispersal and seed banks influence the regeneration potential of fragmented landscapes is critical as these fragments are the potential sources of forest expansion and re-connectivity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Valenta, K; Steffens, TS; Rafaliarison, RR; Chapman, CA; Lehman, SM

Published Date

  • January 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 47 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 435 - 440

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-7429

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3606

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/btp.12228

Citation Source

  • Scopus