Get access

Do Bird Perching Structures Elevate Seed Rain and Seedling Establishment in Abandoned Tropical Pasture?


  • Karen D. Holl

    1. Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, U.S.A. Current address: Environmental Studies Department, Natural Sciences II, Room 349, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author


Lack of seed dispersal has been shown to be a major factor limiting tropical forest recovery in abandoned pasture land. The goal of this work was to determine whether bird perching structures serve to enhance seed dispersal and seedling establishment in an abandoned pasture in Costa Rica. Two types of perching structures (crossbar and branch) were tested. Bird visitation rates were significantly higher on branch than on crossbar perches. The number of animal-dispersed seeds was significantly higher below branch perches than below crossbar perches or in open pasture. Despite differences in seed rain, percent cover of animal-dispersed plants and the number of seedlings of animal-dispersed plant species were similar below both perch types and in open pasture. Baiting perches with bananas did not increase either bird visitation rates or seed rain. These results suggest that, although bird perching structures increase seed dispersal, they do not overcome other barriers to tropical forest recovery such as seed predation and low seed germination.