Effects of logging, liana tangles and pasture on seed fate of dry forest tree species in Central Brazil
Forest Ecology and Management
We assessed seed fate of six tree species in a seasonally deciduous forest of Central Brazil. Seed germination, predation, removal and death caused by pathogens or dessication were followed in an undisturbed forest site, a logged forest site, and an active pasture. In both forest types we sowed seeds under patches of liana tangles (Low Forest habitat) and under patches of mature forest (High Forest habitat). Seeds were monitored weekly for up to 8 months. Overall, small-seeded species (Astronium fraxinifolium and Tabebuia impetiginosa) had high germination, although germination was lower in the pasture due to insect predation. The hard-coated seeds of Erythrina sp. had higher germination rates in the pasture. The large-seeded Cavanillesia arborea and Swartzia multijuga had high seed removal (ca. 90%) in the pasture and under High Forest, but only 23â€šÃ„Ã¬34% under Low Forest in the logged site. Lower removal of large seeds in Low Forest suggests that this habitat conceals the seeds and constrains the movement of large mammals. Both species were favored in Low Forest, suggesting that caution should be used when managing lianas. When protected from predation, seeds with a soft coat and high water content, such as the seeds of Eugenia dysenterica and S. multijuga, died from desiccation in the pasture. Restoration efforts must take into consideration high mortality caused by desiccation or insect predation in abandoned pastures of dry forests.