Flowering and fruiting patterns of the Maranhense Amazon rainforest trees
Community level phonological studies can facilitate the understanding of species behavior as a result of ecosystem changes, further reflecting on the annual allotment of specific resources. The aim of the present study was to define the general patterns, flowering and fruiting seasonality from a community in two forest areas of the Maranhense Amazon Rainforest: a non-disturbed area and another submitted to selective logging. The vegetation is composed of Amazon forest lianas alternating between dense and open high biomass forest. Average annual temperature varies between 24.5O C and 26.0O C, with precipitation ranging from 1400 mm to 1800 mm, and a dry season between June and November. Flowering and fruiting of 89 species were analyzed from August 1994 to June 1996. The species were grouped as follows: sub-dossal, upper strata, and trees occurring in both strata. Comparison was made between groups (strata, types of forest and mechanisms for dispersal) and possible correlations with rainfall were investigated. Fifteen studied species were solely from the lower strata, and 63 from the upper forest strata; 17 species were recorded only in native forest and 37 in managed forest. Most species (62.9 %) is zoochorous. Flowering and fruiting take place throughout the year with flowering peak from October to December and fruiting peaks from March to July and from October to December. The results showed a great synchrony in flowering and fruiting of individuals, and confirm the relationship between these cases and the variation in rainfall throughout the year, and that plants of different environments exhibit phonological behavior different. The observed flowering and fruiting patterns were similar between the areas and comparable to other studies in the Amazon Rainforest.