• bird seed dispersal;
  • Brazil subtropical forest;
  • early successional processes;
  • facilitation;
  • nutrient competition;
  • seed predation;
  • seedling establishment


The Araucaria forest is Brazil's highly threatened subtropical forest ecosystem that has been disappearing in recent decades. Restoration programs involving this forest type are scarce, and there is a lack of scientific information on how ecological processes such as competition, facilitation, and seed dispersal influence natural forest restoration. This work aims to investigate how use of perches to attract seed dispersers and the influence of pioneer vegetation and soil fertilization could affect the colonization of woody species in a degraded area. An experiment was conducted in an abandoned field where the natural establishment of seeds and seedlings of woody species was monitored under factorial combinations of the following treatments: (1) pioneer vegetation (presence and absence); (2) soil fertility (addition of NPK and control); and (3) perches (presence and absence). Seed and seedling abundance, seed and seedling species richness, and seedling mortality were recorded monthly during 12 months. Seed abundance and species richness were significantly greater in places with perches than in control plots. These results were consistent over the year and more pronounced when the surrounding forest produced a higher amount of fruit. Species richness and abundance of seedlings were significantly greater in places with perches than in control plots, and in places with vegetation than without. Soil fertility did not influence seedling establishment. Facilitation and seed dispersal are important factors affecting the colonization of woody species in this subtropical area. Nutrient availability neither regulates the facilitation process nor influences species replacement during the early stages of Araucaria forest succession.