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Yamashina, C. 2014. Importance of bird seed dispersal in the development of characteristic vegetation on termite mounds in north-eastern Namibia. TROPICS, 23(1): 33-44


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Importance of bird seed dispersal in the development of characteristic vegetation on termite mounds in north-eastern Namibia.

Summary / Notes:

Mound-building termites function as ecological engineers in tropical savanna landscapes. Large termite mounds support a greater diversity of plants than off-mound areas, but little is known about the process by which diverse mound vegetation develops. This study examined the dispersal mode of woody plants on termite mounds and assessed the process of plant assemblage formation on mounds. This study focused on mound status (termites active vs. inactive) and mound microtopography (mound cones vs. pediments) to develop a chronology of vegetation development. The frequencies of occurrence of woody plants were lower on active mounds (67 %), especially on cones (46 %) compared to inactive mounds (95 %). Species richness and the abundance of woody plants increased in the order of cones, pediments of active mounds and inactive mounds. The proportion of bird-dispersed plant species was much higher on mounds (>40 %) than in off-mound areas (3 %). Salvadora persica was the main bird-dispersed plant and occurred preferentially on active mounds. A schematic plant succession model incorporating the process of endozoochory was developed to explain vegetation development on active mounds. Keywords: Mopane woodland, Salvadora persica, savanna, seed dispersal.

Year: 2014

Type: Journal Article

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