Regaining Landscape Connectivity Through the Restoration of Seed Dispersal Processes
thesisposted on 13.03.2015, 00:00 by Marines de la Pena Domene
This project examines how succession is accelerated through manipulation of self-sustaining seed dispersal processes viewed through different ecological approaches. The study took place in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico, the northern most remnant of tropical rainforest in the American continent. In this study, I propose different metrics to evaluate seed dispersal and seedling establishment limitations in three different habitats (primary and secondary forest and pastures). I then evaluate the potential of high diversity plantings embedded in pastures to overcome dispersal and establishment limitation and accelerate succession into back to forests. I assessed the potential of mixed plantings of animal-dispersed trees compared to wind-dispersed trees and to unplanted plots that simulate natural succession after pasture abandonment. I also evaluated the contribution of bats and birds to effective dispersal measured as the number of established seedlings of a given species. Finally, I studied how planted plots decreased the costs of dispersal agents for Ocotea uxpanapana, an endemic and vulnerable tree species. In conclusion, high diversity plantings act as stepping-stones that increase landscape connectivity and can be used as a conservation strategy in fragmented tropical rainforest.