Consequences of variable reproduction for seedling recruitment in three neotropical tree species
Variable seed production may have important consequences for recruitment but poorly documented for frugivore-dispersed tropical trees. Recruitment limitation may also may be a critical spatial process affectng forest dynamics, but it is rarely assessed at the scale of individual trees. Over an 11-yr period, we studied the consequences of variable seed production for initial seedling recruitment in three shade-tolerant tree species (Quararibea asterolepis, Tetragastris panamensis, and Trichillia tubercuata) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. We measured annual seed production for a permanent sample of focal trees and censured annual new seedling establishment within a restricted dispersal neighborhood of each tree. We analyzed temporal and spatial variability in recruitment and compared reruitment limitations among species.