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Fruit traits of tree species in lower montane rainforest at Doi Suthep–Pui, northern Thailand

Rueangket, A., Duengkae, P., Thinkampheang, S., Enright, N.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2979-4505 and Marod, D. (2021) Fruit traits of tree species in lower montane rainforest at Doi Suthep–Pui, northern Thailand. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 37 (5). pp. 240-251.

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Fruits are a major food resource for wildlifes and have evolved different traits which attract specific frugivores and facilitate seed dispersal. This study examines the quantity of the frequency of fruit tree species, distribution amongst fruit traits and estimates the potential availability of the fruit resource for frugivores in a 16-ha permanent forest plot at Doi Suthep–Pui, Thailand. The similarity amongst traits for fleshy fruited species was explored using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Fleshy fruited species comprised 122 of 208 tree species >2 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) recorded in the permanent plot. Amongst fleshy fruited species, small fruits (length <20 mm) were most common (63.16% of species) while large fruits were rare (4.1%). Black was the most common fruit colour (43.4%). Principal Component Analysis of fruit traits explained 57% of total variance on the first three axes, and allowed identification of three species groups. Litsea martabanica and Persea gamblei are the greatest density and represented the major PCA group; black, small-sized and thin husk indehiscent fruits. These fruiting trees scattered throughout the permanent plot and were of good regeneration status. Indicating fleshy fruit can be a food resource for frugivores especially small-sized fruit. Furthermore, large-fruited species such as Madhuca floribunda is low density but important to preserve for food resource of large frugivores. This finding is very important not only for forest protection policy but also for wildlife conservation as food resources.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 2021 The Authors.
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