Rainforest Restoration and Seed Dispersal


South America (Ecuador)
Africa (Cameroon)

These long-term studies examine the role of birds and primates as seed dispersers in the maintenance of tree diversity in West African and Neotropical rainforests. In West Africa, we are using data gathered at a remote field station (maintained by CTR and ECOFAC) in the Dja Reserve, (a UN designated Biosphere Reserve and West Africa' s largest). CTR members have learned that just two species of Hornbills disperse the seeds of over 25% of the more than 300 tree species found in the reserve. Given the alarming population declines of other seed dispersers, particularly primates and elephant, this work is of enormous importance to conservation planning.

In Ecuador, we are studying the Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger) northwestern Chocó rainforests and Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) in the Amazon basin. Both species are key dispersers of seeds within their home ranges, yet the role each plays in regeneration of degraded habitat and maintenance of primary forests are poorly known. These projects employ radio telemetry and detailed phenological data to quantify the basic biology of these little-known yet charismatic and ecologically vital species. Additionally, rainforest restoration projects using an experimental approach to restoration are currently being developed in Ecuador in conjunction with local and international NGOs. CTR is also developing proposals to expand this work to include comparative research in Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Gabon.

Current Projects

Long-distance Movements and Resource Use by Hornbills in Cameroon (click here to download PDF)

Related Publications

2014 Lamperti AM, French AR, Dierenfeld ES, Fogiel MK, Whitney KD, Stauffer DJ, Holbrook KM, Hardesty BD, Clark CJ, Poulsen JR, Wang B, Smith TB, Parker VT. Diet selection is related to breeding status in two frugivorous hornbill species of Central Africa. Journal of Tropical Ecology 30:273-290. doi:10.1017/S0266467414000236
2013 Duraes R., Carrasco L., Smith T.B., Karubian J. Effects of forest disturbance and habitat loss on avian communities in a Neotropical biodiversity hotspot. Biological Conservation, 166:203-211. PDF
2012 Karubian J., Duraes R., Storey J.L., Smith T.B. Mating behavior drives seed dispersal by the Long-wattled Umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger. Biotropica 44(5): 689-698. PDF
2010 Karubian, J., V. L. Sork, T. Roorda, R. Durães, and T. B. Smith. Destination-based seed dispersal homogenizes genetic structure of a tropical palm. Molecular Ecology. PDF
2007 Wang, B. C., V. L. Sork, M. T. Leong, and T. B. Smith. Hunting of mammals affects seed removal and dispersal of the Afrotropical tree, Antrocaryon klaineanum (Anacardiaceae). Biotropica 39(3): 340-347. PDF
2005 French, A., and T.B. Smith. Importance of body size in determining dominance hierarchies among diverse tropical frugivores. Biotropica 37: 95-100. PDF
2004 Stauffer, D., and T. B. Smith. Breeding and nest site characteristics of the Black-casqued Ceratogymna atrata and White-thighed Ceratogymna cylindricus Hornbill in south-central Cameroon. Ostrich 75: 79-88. PDF
2002 Holbrook, K. M., T. B. Smith and B. D. Hardesty. Long-distance movements of frugivorous rainforest hornbills. Ecography 25: 745-749. PDF
2002 Poulsen, J. R., C. J. Clark, E. F. Conner and T. B. Smith. Differential resource use by primates and hornbills: implications for seed dispersal. Ecology 83: 228-240. PDF
2002 Wang, B. C. and T. B. Smith. Closing the seed dispersal loop. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 379-386. PDF
2001 Poulsen, J. R., C. J. Clark, and T. B. Smith. Seed dispersal by a primate community in the Dja Reserve, Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 17: 787-808. PDF
2001 Poulsen, J. R., C. J. Clark, and T. B. Smith. Seasonal variation in the feeding ecology of the grey-cheeked mangabey (Lophocebus albigena) in Cameroon. American Journal of Primatology 54: 91-105. PDF
2000 Holbrook, K. M and T. B. Smith. Seed dispersal and movement patterns in two species of Ceratogymna hornbills in a West African tropical lowland forest. Oecologia 125: 249-257. PDF
1998 Whitney, K., Fogiel, M., Lamperti, A., Holbrook, K., Stauffer, D., Hardesty, B., Parker, V. Smith, T. Seed dispersal by Ceratogymna hornbills in the Dja Reserve of Cameroon. Journal of Tropical Ecology 14: 351-371. PDF
1998 Whitney, K.. and Smith, T. Habitat use and resource tracking by African Ceratogymna hornbills: implications for seed dispersal and forest conservation. Animal Conservation 1: 107-117. PDF

CTR Bird

Center for Tropical Research | UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
La Kretz Hall, Suite 300 | 619 Charles E. Young Dr. East | Los Angeles, CA 90095-1496

The Center for Tropical Research, located on the third floor of La Kretz Hall, is part of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles. For general inquiries, contact Christa Gomez, CTR Office Manager, at 310-206-6234, or by email at cgomez@lifesci.ucla.edu. Visitors are always welcome.

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