Composition, density, and fruiting phenology of arborescent palms in an Amazonian terra firme forest

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Abstract

Near the Upper Urucu River, Amazonas, Brazil, 248 individuals with a diameter at breast height ≥10cm, including eight single-stemmed and one multistemmed species, occurred within a 5-ha area. Arborescent palms accounted for 7% of 4915 trees, and comprised the sixth most abundant tree family. The combined density of all palm species was substantially greater in relatively patchy areas of poorly drained to waterlogged soils within creekside forest (81 ind./ha) than on well-drained, high forest soils (36 ind./ha). Palm species appeared to segregate according to habitat topography, resulting in two relatively distinct subcommunities. Jessenia bataua, the most commoon species, accounted for 42% of the arboresecent palms. Immature and mature fruits of this and other palm species were available throughout the year, and represented an important food source for frugivores during the dry season, when ripe fleshy fruits of nonpalm trees became rare or nonexistent. The reproductive phenology of arborescent palms is discussed in terms of its role in sustaining frugivores through periods of generalized ripe fruit scarcity. -from Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalBiotropica
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

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