Seed-dispersal interactions in fragmented landscapes - a metanetwork approach
MetadataShow full item record
Mutualistic interactions repeatedly preserved across fragmented landscapes can scale-up to form a spatial metanetwork describing the distribution of interactions across patches. We explored the structure of a bird seed-dispersal (BSD) metanetwork in 16 Neotropical forest fragments to test whether a distinct subset of BSD-interactions may mediate landscape functional connectivity. The metanetwork is interaction-rich, modular and poorly connected, showing high beta-diversity and turnover of species and interactions. Interactions involving large-sized species were lost in fragments < 10000 ha, indicating a strong filtering by habitat fragmentation on the functional diversity of BSD-interactions. Persistent interactions were performed by small-seeded, fast growing plant species and by generalist, small-bodied bird species able to cross the fragmented landscape. This reduced subset of interactions forms the metanetwork components persisting to defaunation and fragmentation, and may generate long-term deficits of carbon storage while delaying forest regeneration at the landscape level.