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Keywords:

  • Ateles paniscus;
  • Dasyprocta leporina;
  • seed dispersal;
  • South America;
  • Suriname;
  • tropical forest

ABSTRACT

The effect of forest disturbance on survival and secondary dispersal of an artificial seed shadow (N= 800) was studied at Brownsberg Natural Park, Suriname, South America. We scattered single seeds of the frugivore-dispersed tree Virola kwatae (Myristicaceae), simulating loose dispersal by frugivores, in undisturbed and disturbed secondary forest habitats. Seed survival rate aboveground was high (69%) within 2 wk and was negatively correlated with scatterhoarding rate by rodents, the latter being significantly lower in the undisturbed forest (9%) than in the disturbed forest (20%). Postdispersal seed predation by vertebrates was low (3%) and infestation of seeds by invertebrates was almost zero in all instances. Therefore, secondary seed dispersal by rodents in forest is not as critical for recruitment as observed among other bruchid-infested large-seeded species. Secondary seed dispersal by rodents may, however, facilitate seedling recruitment whether cached seeds experience greater survival than seeds remaining above ground surface.