September 2018

Species communities in the tropical mountain forests of southern Ecuador are among the most diverse worldwide and many species interact with each other. One example for these interactions are fruiting plants and their avian seed dispersers, which together provide an important ecosystem function for the regeneration of the forest. At the same time, these mountain forests are highly threatened by human-induced impacts, such as forest fragmentation. In this study, we investigated how forest fragmentation affects the structure of plant-bird interaction networks along an elevational gradient ranging from 1000 to 3000 m asl. The photo, taken by Agustín Carrasco during field work at a high elevation forest, shows a golden-plumed parakeet (Leptosittaca branickii). This species, rather a seed predator than a seed disperser, has been listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to the heavy deforestation of its habitat.

Full paper here

Download high resolution file: ecog_41_09_cover.pdf