Plant-bird mutualistic interactions can contribute to the regeneration of forest and non-forest urban patches in the Brazilian Cerrado

Allan Corral, Luciana Mendes Valério, Kwok Chiu Cheung, Bruno Henrique dos Santos Ferreira, Angélica Guerra, Judit Kriszta Szabo, Letícia Koutchin Reis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Birds play a crucial role in plant reproduction, being one of the most important pollinators and seed dispersers among vertebrates. Here, we aim to study plant-bird interactions in the Cerrado biome of Brazil, highlighting existing mutualistic relations and their role in forest regeneration processes. We sampled plants and recorded feeding events and other interactions between frugivorous birds and tree and shrub species in forest and non-forest environments between May 2015 and July 2016. We registered 74 plant species of 36 genera in 23 families, along with 44 bird species, 63.7% of which were frugivores. The rainy season (September-October) offered the highest resource availability for birds, therefore most feeding events and other interactions also occurred during this period. Approximately 64% of the plants observed at the study site had zoochoric dispersal and more than half of them relied on birds. We found a variety of bird species interacting with plants that supplied their food in urban fragments and highlight the relevance of plant-bird interactions to maintaining urban ecosystems. This result demonstrates the importance of maintaining forested environments, as habitat loss reduces ecological interactions, leaving only a few healthy ecological systems as scattered forest fragments within the urban matrix.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalUrban Ecosystems
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jul 2020

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