The Effect of Herbaceous Understory Cover on Fruit Removal and Seedling Survival in Coastal Dune Forest Trees in South Africa

Authors

  • Zivanai Tsvuura,

    1. Forest Biodiversity Research Unit, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
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  • Megan E. Griffiths,

    1. Forest Biodiversity Research Unit, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
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  • Michael J. Lawes

    Corresponding author
    1. Forest Biodiversity Research Unit, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P/Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
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1   Corresponding author; e-mail: Lawes@ukzn.ac.za

ABSTRACT

Regeneration of forest canopy trees can be inhibited by understory thickets. We hypothesized that Isoglossa woodii, a large-leaved herbaceous plant, limits tree recruitment in subtropical coastal dune forests by providing habitat to fruit and seedling consumers. Using uncaged and caged treatments in I. woodii gaps and thickets, we found that frugivore and herbivore behavior is not influenced by I. woodii. We conclude that direct effects of I. woodii on postemergence processes in seedlings contribute to tree recruitment limitation.

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