Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
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Omar A. Hernández-Dávila, Javier Laborde, Vinicio J. Sosa, Cecilia Díaz-Castelazo. 2022: Interaction network between frugivorous birds and zoochorous plants in cloud forest riparian strips immersed in anthropic landscapes. Avian Research, 13(1): 100046. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100046
Citation: Omar A. Hernández-Dávila, Javier Laborde, Vinicio J. Sosa, Cecilia Díaz-Castelazo. 2022: Interaction network between frugivorous birds and zoochorous plants in cloud forest riparian strips immersed in anthropic landscapes. Avian Research, 13(1): 100046. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100046

Interaction network between frugivorous birds and zoochorous plants in cloud forest riparian strips immersed in anthropic landscapes

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100046
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  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: javier.laborde@inecol.mx (J. Laborde); E-mail address: vinicio.sosa@inecol.mx (V.J. Sosa)
  • Received Date: 24 Jul 2021
  • Accepted Date: 22 Jun 2022
  • Available Online: 11 Oct 2022
  • Publish Date: 30 Jun 2022
  • Worldwide, tropical montane cloud forest is one of the most important and biodiverse ecosystems; however, it is also one of those most threatened by anthropic activities. These activities lead to a fragmented, deforested landscape with narrow riparian forest strips immersed in an agricultural matrix dominated by pastures. Here, we characterize the interaction network between frugivorous birds and zoochorous plants in riparian strips of cloud forest in deforested landscapes of Central Veracruz, Mexico. To characterize the network of this mutualistic interaction, we estimated network- and species-level metrics using the Bipartite R package. Nestedness, modularity and robustness were used to describe network structure. Centrality measures of degree, closeness, betweenness centrality and their relative contribution to nestedness were used to determine the importance of each bird/plant species to the network's structure. This interaction network has 24 species of birds and 30 species of plants, with low connectance (0.11), low nestedness (11.53), and intermediate but not significant modularity (0.49). The bird species most important to network stability were Chlorospingus flavopectus, Myadestes occidentalis, and Catharus mexicanus. The most important plants were Conostegia xalapensis, C. arborea, and Rubus ulmifolius. Network robustness varied from 0.36 to 0.86 and its stability is compromised when species of birds or plants with the highest values of centrality are removed, with plant removal more detrimental. Riparian strips of cloud forest crossing deforested areas maintain a relatively rich set of birds that disperse the seeds of many forest plants, thus they are crucial to the preservation of this mutualistic network in anthropic landscapes. Network stability is severely undermined by the loss of any of the few species — whether birds or plants — with high centrality values. The most important plants for this stability are pioneer tree and shrub species that provide food for several bird species, and they are also crucial to cloud forest regeneration. A worrisome finding is that some of the bird species most important to network stability are also among the most sought-after as ornamental birds by illegal collectors in the region.

     

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