The influence of logging on vertebrate responses to mast fruiting

Alys Granados, Henry Bernard, Jedediah F. Brodie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Periods of extreme food abundance, such as irregular masting events, can dramatically affect animal populations and communities, but the extent to which anthropogenic disturbances alter animal responses to mast events is not clear. In South-East Asia, dipterocarp trees reproduce in mast fruiting events every 2–10 years in some of the largest masting events on the planet. These trees, however, are targeted for selective logging, reducing the intensity of fruit production and potentially affecting multiple trophic levels. Moreover, animal responses to resource pulse events have largely been studied in systems where the major mast consumers have been extirpated. We sought to evaluate the influence of human-induced habitat disturbance on animal responses to masting in a system where key mast consumers remain extant. We used motion-triggered camera traps to quantify terrestrial mammal and bird occurrences in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, relative to variation in fruit biomass from 69 plant families during a major (2014) and minor (2015) masting event and a non-mast year (2013), in both logged and unlogged forests. Bearded pigs (Sus barbatus) showed the clearest responses to masting and occurrence rates were highest in unlogged forest in the year following the major mast, suggesting that the pulse in fruit availability increased immigration or reproduction. We also detected local-scale spatial tracking of dipterocarp fruits in bearded pigs in unlogged forest, while this was equivocal in other species. In contrast, pigs and other vertebrate taxa in our study showed limited response to spatial or temporal variation in fruit availability in logged forest. Our findings suggest that vertebrates, namely bearded pigs, may respond to masting via movement and increased reproduction, but that these responses may be attenuated by habitat disturbance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-902
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume88
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Borneo
  • camera trap
  • dipterocarp
  • logging
  • mast fruiting
  • plant–animal interactions
  • resource pulse
  • tropical forest

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