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Drought reduces the growth and health of tropical rainforest understory plants

Background

Plant responses to drought are important to understand for agricultural practices and environmental stress. Susceptibility to drought varies among and between plant species. Most field studies on plant responses to drought in tropical rainforests ignore understory plant species such as saplings and shrubs. These species are important to understand because they are often more vulnerable to environmental stressors, and they contribute greatly to forest biodiversity.

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Suppression of seed production as a long-term strategy in weed biological control: The combined impact of two biocontrol agents on Acacia mearnsii in South Africa

Background

Acacia mearnsii is a woody plant native to Southeastern Australia and Tasmania. Introduced into South Africa in the mid-1800s for timber, the species has become invasive to the region. Reducing the amount of precipitation reaching the ground, hindering agriculture and lowering biodiversity are just a few of the detrimental impacts. Though there has been pushback to controlling this species for commercial interests, two biological control agents, a seed-feeding weevil and a flower-galling midge are known to control species spread and are introduced to the region.

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Seed removal, seed dispersers, and the allocation of tissues in Myrtaceae seeds

Background

Plants allocate resources to protective seed tissues in order to avoid seed death and ensure successful reproduction. Myrtaceae is an abundant plant family in the Brazilian Atlantic forest with many species producing fleshy fruits that are attractive to birds, rodents, and other mammals. Myrtaceae species may adapt seed characteristics to avoid predation.

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Safeguarding sloths and anteaters in the future: Priority areas for conservation under climate change

Background

Sloths and anteaters come from the order Pilosa which has very little species richness and a high rate of species loss in recent years, making this order highly vulnerable to extinction. This order is distributed endemically in the Neotropics. Conservation concerns are high due to the high levels of habitat fragmentation and loss in Neotropical landscapes and conservation areas need to be prioritized to ensure Pilosa species survival.

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Forest structure predicts species richness and functional diversity in Amazonian mixed-species bird flocks

Background

Secondary forests between forest fragments are valuable sources of biodiversity during the regeneration process. In the Brazilian Amazon, understory birds are often an indicator of forest regeneration and overall health. Functional diversity is an important component of ecosystem health and services, yet little is known about the role it plays in the return of mixed-species bird flocks.

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Density-dependent reproductive success among sympatric dipterocarps during a major mast fruiting event

Background

Masting or mast fruiting is the annual synchronous production of many seeds by a plant species. Masting is an important reproductive strategy that depends on the intensity of flowering and fruiting, as well as the seeds’ ability to survive herbivory and competition with other seeds. Southeast Asia, many tree species (particularly Dipterocarps) are known to synchronize their masting events and therefore, community-wide seed density is an important factor predicting successful reproduction.

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Active restoration of secondary and degraded forests in the context of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

Background

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Removing climbers more than doubles tree growth and biomass in degraded tropical forests

Background

Tree climbing plants such as lianas are known to inhibit forest recovery by outcompeting trees after disturbances. The removal of climbers is recognized as a viable forest restoration management practice, however no best practices are established yet due to lack of research repetition and synthesis.

Goals and Methods

The authors conduct a literature review on climber removal studies in tropical forests in order to quantify removal efficacy for promoting tree growth and increasing biomass.

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Old timber plantations and secondary forests attain levels of plant diversity and structure similar to primary forests in the West African humid tropics

Background

There is a high rate of biodiversity loss and deforestation in tropical ecosystems. In order to maintain global biodiversity, it is necessary to conserve plant diversity in alternative forest landscapes such as secondary forests and plantations. Comparing conservation values and tradeoffs of different forest landscapes is important for sustainable forest management and conservation practices.

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Overcoming biotic homogenization in ecological restoration

Background

Regional, or gamma, diversity is often lower in restored landscapes compared to reference landscapes due to the selection of few desirable species for planting. Lowered diversity in restored landscapes is leading to overall biotic homogenization which puts ecosystems and humans in a more vulnerable position for adapting to environmental changes.

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