The Fecundity, Seed, and Seedling Ecology of the Edible Palm Euterpe edulis in Southeastern Brazil1

Authors

  • D. M. Silva Matos,

    1. Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, England.
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 2

      Departamento de Ecologia, Laboratório de Ecologia de Populações, IB-CCS, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro (RJ), CP 68020, CEP 21941, Brazil.

  • A. R. Watkinson

    1. Schools of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, England.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • 1

    Received 15 January 1996; revision accepted 1 June 1997.

ABSTRACT

Euterpe edulis flowers at the beginning of the wet season and fruits over an extended period during the end of the wet season and the dry season. Reproductive plants produced an average of ca 1500 fruits within a season. Five species of birds belonging to the family Turdidae were observed to feed on and disperse the fruits. Most seeds fell directly to the ground, where there was some subsequent local dispersal by water. The dispersion of seeds was highly clumped with most seeds being found in close proximity to adult plants; the distance of dispersal could be described by a negative power curve. Germination was higher on wetter soils. The probability of seedlings advancing to the next size class within a year was inversely related to the density of seedlings, and occurred optimally at ca 4 m from adult plants. The latter observation indicates that the survival and growth of seedlings are suppressed in the immediate vicinity of conspecific adults.

Ancillary