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Seed-dispersal distributions by trumpeter hornbills in fragmented landscapes

Johanna Lenz, Wolfgang Fiedler, Tanja Caprano, Wolfgang Friedrichs, Bernhard H. Gaese, Martin Wikelski and Katrin Böhning-Gaese
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 278, No. 1716 (7 August 2011), pp. 2257-2264
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41314926
Page Count: 8
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Seed-dispersal distributions by trumpeter hornbills in fragmented landscapes
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Abstract

Frugivorous birds provide important ecosystem services by transporting seeds of fleshy fruited plants.It has been assumed that seed-dispersal kernels generated by these animals are generally leptokurtic, resulting in little dispersal among habitat fragments. However, little is known about the seed-dispersal distribution generated by large frugivorous birds in fragmented landscapes. We investigated movement and seed-dispersal patterns of trumpeter hornbills (Bycanistes bucinator) in a fragmented landscape in South Africa. Novel GPS loggers provide high-quality location data without bias against recording long-distance movements. We found a very weakly bimodal seed-dispersal distribution with potential dispersal distances up to 14.5 km. Within forest, the seed-dispersal distribution was unimodal with an expected dispersal distance of 86 m. In the fragmented agricultural landscape, the distribution was strongly bimodal with peaks at 18 and 512 m. Our results demonstrate that seed-dispersal distributions differed when birds moved in different habitat types. Seed-dispersal distances in fragmented landscapes show that transport among habitat patches is more frequent than previously assumed, allowing plants to disperse among habitat patches and to track the changing climatic conditions.

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