The Neotropical region harbors the world's most diverse terrestrial plant communities. A key component of this diversity is a range of plant-animal interactions involving frugivory, nectarivory, and insectivory. Millions of Neotropical hectares subjected to human land-use systems contain trees that are either planted by land managers or retained from the pre-existing forests. Biodiversity-conservation approaches in these systems are often ineffective because of the unfounded assumption that all plants provide equal benefits for consumers. We propose criteria for tree-species selection based on plant-animal interaction research that could guide decisionmakers. We show that tree-species identity is key for enhancing biodiversity and recommend that selection be guided by the structure of plant-animal interaction networks. We also recommend that selection practices consider the timing of resource production, because the year-round availability of food resources in the Neotropics plays an important role in the adaptive radiation of nectar- and fruit-eating vertebrates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)