On-line version ISSN 0717-9200
PONCE, Analía Melisa; GRILLI, Gabriel and GALETTO, Leonardo. Frugivory and ornitochorous fruits removal in Chaco forest fragments of Córdoba (Argentina). Bosque (Valdivia) [online]. 2012, vol.33, n.1, pp.33-41. ISSN 0717-9200. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-92002012000100004.
Forests loss and habitat fragmentation due to agricultural activity could be related to different ecological processes such as biotic dispersion, as well as the maintenance of native plant diversity and exotic plant invasions. The objective of this work was to analyze fruit removal and frugivory by animals in the Chaco forest of Córdoba, in the context of landscape fragmentation. The study was carried out in two continuous (> 300 ha) and two small forest fragments (< 5 ha). We randomly selected three to five individuals with ornitochorous fruits at the sampling time (March-June, 2006). We counted the fruits in focal plants once a week during two month. Fruit survival probability (FSP) was used as an indicator of fruit removal. Ornitochorous plants included 15 species, mainly woody. The FSP for the plant community showed statistically significant differences between small fragments and continuous sites. FSP was lower in continuous forests than in small fragments. FSP in the exotic bush was lower than in the native bush species. Contrary to bushes, FSP values in woody exotic species were higher than those for native species. Results suggest that the dispersion of the ornitochorous fruits would be related to the process of fragmentation, but small fragments are used by birds as feeding sites, which confers them a high conservation value. This behavior of bird species would be important for the persistence and colonization of new sites for plant species with ornitochorous fruits, as well as for the conservation of small forests fragments disseminated within agro-ecosystems of central Argentina.
Keywords : forests loss; fruit removal; birds; community; Chaco biogeographic region.