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Phenology, Seed Dispersal, and Recruitment in Cecropia peltata (Moraceae) in Costa Rican Tropical Dry Forest

Theodore H. Fleming and Charles F. Williams
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1990), pp. 163-178
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2559262
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Phenology, Seed Dispersal, and Recruitment in Cecropia peltata (Moraceae) in Costa Rican Tropical Dry Forest
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Abstract

We studied the seed dispersal ecology of the Neotropical pioneer tree Cecropia peltata L. (Moraceae) in tropical dry forest by documenting its (1) fruiting phenology, (2) rates of visitation by vertebrate frugivores, and (3) rate of recruitment of juveniles in different habitats at Santa Rosa National Park in northwestern Costa Rica. At Santa Rosa, C. peltata is a common but patchily-distributed plant. Fruiting in females is seasonal, and fruit availability peaks in June through August (the early wet season). Females bear a few ripe fruit per day over a 4-5 month fruiting period. At least 28 vertebrate species (15 diurnal and 13 nocturnal species) eat Cecropia fruit; equal numbers of ripe fruit are removed during the night and day. Owing to their more gentle treatment of seeds in the gut, birds and bats probably are more effective dispersal agents than monkeys. The recruitment rate of juveniles into already established populations was about 0.8 ha-1 y-1 compared with a rate of 176 ha-1 y-1 during the colonization of a cleared roadside.

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