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Light or Presence of Host Trees: Which is More Important for the Strangler Fig?
Vidya R. Athreya
Journal of Tropical Ecology
Vol. 15, No. 5 (Sep., 1999), pp. 589-602
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2560205
Page Count: 14
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Strangler fig density varied considerably in the evergreen forest of Karian Shola National Park, southern India, with 11 individuals ha-1 in an open trail area and 5.6 individuals ha-1 within the primary forest area. The index of light level was assessed by estimating the percentage of upper canopy cover along the longitudinal centre of ten, 500-m x 20-m plots in each of the two areas of the evergreen forest. However, the increase in strangler fig density was not correlated to light levels but was significantly correlated to the numbers of their main host species in the two areas. In Karian Shola National Park, strangler figs occurred predominantly on a few host species with 20 and 50% of strangler figs growing on Vitex altissima, Diospyros bourdilloni and Eugenia/Syzygium spp. in the primary forest and trail areas respectively. Both young and established strangler figs were recorded mainly on larger individuals of their host trees indicating that older host trees are likely to be more suitable for the germination and establishment of strangler figs. The reason for the above could be the higher incidence of humusfilled and decaying regions in the older host trees which would provide an assured supply of nutrients for the establishing strangler fig.
Journal of Tropical Ecology © 1999 Cambridge University Press