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      Beach almond (Terminalia catappa, Combretaceae) seed production and predation by scarlet macaws (Ara macao) and variegated squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides) Translated title: Producción de semillas y depredación del almendro de playa (Terminalia catappa, Combretaceae) por lapas rojas (Ara macao) y ardillas chizas (Sciurus variegatoides)

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          Abstract

          Knowledge of ecological impacts of exotic beach almond (Terminalia catappa) in the central Pacific of Costa Rica are little known, but studies have found this species to be a potentially important food source for endangered scarlet macaws (Ara macao). In this study, reproductive phenology and seed predation by variegated squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides) and scarlet macaws were measured during March and April 2011 on beaches of central Pacific coastal Costa Rica. Seed productivity and predation levels were quantified on a weekly basis for 111 beach almond trees to assess the importance of beach almond as a food source for scarlet macaws and the extent of resource partitioning between seed predators. Seed production of the trees was great (about 194 272 seeds) and approximately 67% of seeds were predated by seed predators. Macaws consumed an estimated 49% of seeds while squirrels consumed 18%. Additionally, evidence of resource partitioning between squirrels and macaws was found. Scarlet macaws preferred to feed on the northern side and edge of the canopy while squirrels preferred to feed on the southern and inside parts of the canopy. Both species ate most seeds on the ocean side of the tree. Despite the status of this tree as an exotic species, the beach almond appears to be an important resource for scarlet macaw population recovery. The resource produced by this tree should be taken into account as reforestation efforts continue in Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 62 (3): 929-938. Epub 2014 September 01.

          Translated abstract

          El conocimiento de los impactos ecológicos del almendro de playa exótico (Terminalia catappa) en el Pacífico Central de Costa Rica son poco conocidos, pero los estudios han encontrado que esta especie es una fuente de alimento potencialmente importante para la lapa roja (Ara macao), en peligro de extinción. En este estudio, se midieron la fenología reproductiva y la depredación de semillas por las ardillas (Sciurus variegatoides) y lapas rojas durante marzo y abril 2011 en las playas de la costa Pacífica Central de Costa Rica. Los niveles de productividad y depredación de semillas se cuantificaron semanalmente para 111 almendros de playa, para evaluar la importancia del almendro de playa como fuente de alimento para la lapa roja y el grado de repartición de recursos entre los depredadores de semillas. La producción de semillas de los árboles fue alta (cerca de 194 272 semillas) y aproximadamente el 67% de las semillas fueron comidas por los depredadores, las lapas rojas consumen un estimado de 49% de las semillas, mientras que las ardillas consumen el 18%. Adicionalmente, se encontró evidencia de la repartición de recursos entre las ardillas y las lapas. Las lapas rojas prefieren alimentarse en el lado norte y el borde de la copa, mientras que las ardillas prefieren las regiones del sur y el interior de la copa. Ambas especies se comieron la mayoría de las semillas en la parte del árbol con lado al mar. A pesar de la situación de este árbol como una especie exótica, la playa de almendras parece ser un recurso importante para la recuperación de la población de lapas rojas. El recurso que produce este árbol debe tomarse en cuenta para continuar con los esfuerzos de reforestación en Costa Rica.

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          Population Ecology of Some Warblers of Northeastern Coniferous Forests

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            Can Invasive Species Facilitate Native Species? Evidence of How, When, and Why These Impacts Occur

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              Changes in composition and structure of a tropical dry forest following intermittent Cattle grazing

              In northwestern Costa Rica, cattle are being used as a "management tool" to reduce the amount of combustible material, mainly dominated by Hyparrhenia rufa, an African grass. This project is being developed within Parque Nacional Palo Verde and Reserva Biológica Lomas Barbudal, both of which fonn part of the only remaining tropical dry forests in Mesoamerica. To determine the short-term effects of cattle grazing on the natural vegetation, we compared the floristic composition within Palo Verde in an area under intermittent cattle grazing with an area that has not been grazed. There were significantly fewer plant species in the area with intermittent cattle grazing compared to the area with no grazing. Floristic composition of these two habitats was different as reflected by both Fisher's alpha values and the Shannon index of diversity, both of which were significantly higher in the ungrazed site. The ungrazed area contained more plant species and was more similar to mature forest. The structure of the vegetation was significantly different between the intermittently grazed and ungrazed sites with more small stems (1-5 cm dbh) and fewer large stems (>5 cm dbh) in the intermittently grazed habitat. These results indicate that cattle grazing has an impact on the dry forest by reducing the relative abundance and density of larger tree species and by changing the species composition and structure of the community. The current management plan implemented in Palo Verde and Lomas Barbudal is not appropriate because of the impact that cattle have on the structure of the natural vegetation and should not be considered a viable alternative in other protected areas of dry forest in the Neotropics. We suggest that alternative fire prevention measures be evaluated including hand-cutting H. rufa, the creation of more frequent and larger fire breaks, and the development of green breaks.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Role: ND
                Journal
                rbt
                Revista de Biología Tropical
                Rev. biol. trop
                Universidad de Costa Rica (San José )
                0034-7744
                September 2014
                : 62
                : 3
                : 929-938
                Affiliations
                [1 ] St. Olaf College USA
                [2 ] Associated Colleges of the Midwest Costa Rica
                [3 ] Associated Colleges of the Midwest Costa Rica
                Article
                S0034-77442014000300009
                Product
                Product Information: website
                Categories
                Biodiversity Conservation
                Biology

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