Effects of Landscape Corridors on Seed Dispersal by Birds

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 146-148
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111479

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Habitat fragmentation threatens biodiversity by disrupting dispersal. The mechanisms and consequences of this disruption are controversial, primarily because most organisms are difficult to track. We examined the effect of habitat corridors on long-distance dispersal of seeds by birds, and tested whether small-scale (<20 meters) movements of birds could be scaled up to predict dispersal of seeds across hundreds of meters in eight experimentally fragmented landscapes. A simulation model accurately predicted the observed pattern of seed rain and revealed that corridors functioned through edge-following behavior of birds. Our study shows how models based on easily observed behaviors can be scaled up to predict landscape-level processes.

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