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Restoration of Plant–Pollinator Interactions: Pollination Neighborhood and Asymmetric Pollen Flow Between Restored Habitats in a Beetle-Pollinated Aroid


C. García-Robledo, email


Two processes globally threatening natural ecosystems are changes in land use and deforestation. Two methods used to restore threatened ecosystems are: (1) unassisted forest regeneration, which promotes the establishment of plants and fauna arriving from surrounding habitats and (2) assisted restoration, which involves the reconstruction of forests by planting native or exotic trees. Functional attributes, such as plant–pollinator interactions, are essential for ecosystem recovery. Unfortunately, information regarding the effect of restoration on pollination systems is limited. Forty years ago, a tropical cloud forest in Colombia was restored through unassisted forest regeneration, as well as by establishing monospecific plantations of the exotic Chinese ash Fraxinus chinensis. The understories of both restoration strategies were colonized by the beetle-pollinated aroid Xanthosoma daguense. Using isolation-by-distance and multi-strata mark-recapture models, I estimated in each restoration strategy two fundamental pollination processes: (1) the magnitude of X. daguense pollination neighborhood and (2) the directionality of pollen flow among plants colonizing both restoration strategies. In addition, I recorded pollinator visits and fruit production for X. daguense in each restored habitats. The pollination neighborhood of X. daguense in the ash plantation is two times larger than its pollination neighborhood in natural regeneration. Inflorescences in the ash plantation donated 10 times more pollen to inflorescences in natural regeneration. Plants in natural regeneration produced two times more infructescences and more fruits than plants in ash plantation. Results show that the selection of different restoration strategies can alter two major components of plant–pollinator interactions in plants colonizing restored habitats, pollination neighborhoods, and pollen flow within the population.