Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Jackfruit trees as seed attractors and nurses of early recruitment of native plant species in a secondary forest in Brazil.

Abstract

The Atlantic Forest is one of the most threatened tropical forests in the world, being drastically reduced, fragmented, and disturbed. The drastic process of anthropic occupation and exploitation of this biome has, in many cases, led to the introduction of exotic species, such as the jackfruits (Artocarpus heterophyllus). However, studies on the influence of jackfruits on the native biota are still scarce. Here we investigated the influence of fruit trees on the seed rain and early recruitment of seedlings in native remnants, comparing these patterns with those observed for a native species tapirira (Tapirira guianensis), which similarly to jackfruits, produces many fruits throughout the year, attracting a variety of frugivore species. Seed rain and seedlings observed under the jackfruits were both more abundant and equally rich to the assemblages reported under the native tapirira trees. In both species, co-specifics comprise a large part of the number of seeds (> 70%) and seedlings (> 45%) individuals and, although they attract similar seed assemblages, seedling composition diverge, particularly when co-specifics are excluded. We reported that jackfruits can attract a diverse seed and seedling assemblages, and we find no evidence that the presence of jackfruits negatively affects the arrival and initial recruitment of native plant species in the study area. These results should be analyzed with caution but considered when evaluating costs and benefits of management options to control exotic species.