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The role of great apes in seed dispersal of the tropical forest tree species Dacryodes normandii (Burseraceae) in Gabon

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2015

Barbara Haurez
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Forestry, Management of Forest Resources, BIOSE – Biosystem Engineering, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, 2 Passage des Déportés, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium École Régionale Post-Universitaire d'Aménagement et de Gestion Intégrés des Forêts et Territoires Tropicaux (ERAIFT). B.P. 15373 Kinshasa (RDC)
Kasso Daïnou
Affiliation:
Nature Plus asbl. Rue Bourgmestre Gilisquet 57, B-1457 Walhain, Belgium
Nikki Tagg
Affiliation:
Projet Grands Singes (PGS) of the Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (RZSA), Koningin Astridplein 20–26, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium
Charles-Albert Petre
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Forestry, Management of Forest Resources, BIOSE – Biosystem Engineering, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, 2 Passage des Déportés, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium Projet Grands Singes (PGS) of the Centre for Research and Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp (RZSA), Koningin Astridplein 20–26, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium Conservation Biology Unit, Section Education and Nature, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, 29 rue Vautier, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Jean-Louis Doucet
Affiliation:
Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Forestry, Management of Forest Resources, BIOSE – Biosystem Engineering, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, 2 Passage des Déportés, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium École Régionale Post-Universitaire d'Aménagement et de Gestion Intégrés des Forêts et Territoires Tropicaux (ERAIFT). B.P. 15373 Kinshasa (RDC)
Corresponding
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Abstract:

The identification of seed dispersers and predators is essential to understand the effect of anthropogenic disturbances, and the associated defaunation process, on tropical forest dynamics in Central Africa. In this study, the animals involved in seed predation and dispersal of Dacryodes normandii (Burseraceae), an endozoochorously dispersed tree species endemic to Gabonese forests, were identified in a site in south-east Gabon using two complementary methods: direct observation and camera-trap monitoring of fruit piles. The combined sampling effort (172 h of direct observations and 796 d of camera trapping) led to the identification of six disperser and eight predator species of D. normandii seeds. With high frequency of consumption (88% and 57% of their visits, respectively) and long visit duration (83 and 23 min, respectively), the western lowland gorilla and central chimpanzee were identified as the main dispersers of this species. Seeds passed through the gorilla gut exhibited high germination success (68%). Rodents were identified as predators of D. normandii seeds, potentially displaying rare secondary dispersal through scatter-hoarding. The results of this study highlight the importance of great apes in the seed dispersal of this tree species.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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