The movement of frugivores between remnant forests and successional areas is vital for tropical forest tree species to colonize successional habitats. The response of these species to the spatial structure of pasture tree cover is largely unknown. We studied avian frugivores that were found in primary forest edges and large pastures in eastern Amazonia, Brazil. We determined how the small-scale spatial structure of pasture trees at forest edges affects five response variables: bird presence, visitation rate, duration of visit, species richness, and an index accounting for species' level of frugivory and abundance in forests. We used hierarchical linear models to estimate the effect of four predictor variables on response variables: (1) clustering of pasture trees; (2) percent canopy cover of pasture trees; (3) distance of pasture tree to forest edge; and (4) tree crown area. The study species, many of which are widely distributed in the Neotropics, were generally insensitive to percent cover and clustering of trees. Frugivore visitation to individual trees remained constant as cover increased. Visitation was positively correlated with focal tree distance to forest edge and crown area. The positive relationship between distance and visitation rates may be due to the increased abundance of some resource further from forests. If pastures were abandoned the distance from forest edges would not likely limit frugivore visitation and seed deposition under large pasture trees in our study (i.e., up to 200 m distant).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics