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Artificial Bird Perches for the Regeneration of Degraded Tropical Peat Swamp Forest: A Restoration Tool with Limited Potential

Authors


L. L. B. Graham, email llbg1@le.ac.uk

Abstract

Forest rehabilitation activities have been initiated on degraded peatland at several sites in Southeast Asia. In order to achieve rehabilitation efficiently and on the largest possible scale, cost-effective, transferable methods need to be established. One potential method, which has previously proven successful in both temperate and neotropical forest ecosystems, is the construction of artificial bird perches outside the forest edge. These provide resting perches for frugivorous birds, encouraging them to fly out of the forest, thus increasing seed dispersal and subsequent seedling recruitment into the degraded area. This method was trialled for the first time in degraded tropical peat swamp forest in Indonesia. The results show that the perches were used by frugivorous birds, leading to a significant increase in seed dispersal; however, seedling recruitment was not increased. The frugivorous birds using the perches were degraded zone species and dispersed mainly tree species from the degraded area. Furthermore, while some seeds of forest-area tree species were dispersed, largely only the degraded area tree species survived to seedling stage. Neither seasonality nor distance from forest edge proved to be significant factors influencing seed dispersal or seedling recruitment, the latter highlighting that seeds were principally being dispersed from within the degraded area rather than from the forest. Although artificial perches did increase seed dispersal, their use as an actual restoration tool in the process of forest regeneration on degraded tropical peatland is limited. Furthermore, when the cost- and effort-to-area factors are considered, this method is shown to be inefficient.

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