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Seed dispersal in changing landscapes

McConkey, Kim R and Prasad, Soumya and Corlett, Richard T and Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa and Brodie, Jedediah F and Rogers, Haldre and Santamaria, Luis (2012) Seed dispersal in changing landscapes. In: BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 146 (1). pp. 1-13.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2011.09.018

Abstract

A growing understanding of the ecology of seed dispersal has so far had little influence on conservation practice, while the needs of conservation practice have had little influence on seed dispersal research. Yet seed dispersal interacts decisively with the major drivers of biodiversity change in the 21st century: habitat fragmentation, overharvesting, biological invasions, and climate change. We synthesize current knowledge of the effects these drivers have on seed dispersal to identify research gaps and to show how this information can be used to improve conservation management. The drivers, either individually, or in combination, have changed the quantity, species composition, and spatial pattern of dispersed seeds in the majority of ecosystems worldwide, with inevitable consequences for species survival in a rapidly changing world. The natural history of seed dispersal is now well-understood in a range of landscapes worldwide. Only a few generalizations that have emerged are directly applicable to conservation management, however, because they are frequently confounded by site-specific and species-specific variation. Potentially synergistic interactions between disturbances are likely to exacerbate the negative impacts, but these are rarely investigated. We recommend that the conservation status of functionally unique dispersers be revised and that the conservation target for key seed dispersers should be a population size that maintains their ecological function, rather than merely the minimum viable population. Based on our analysis of conservation needs, seed dispersal research should be carried out at larger spatial scales in heterogenous landscapes, examining the simultaneous impacts of multiple drivers on community-wide seed dispersal networks. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to Elseview Science
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2012 08:10
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2012 08:10
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/44549

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