Plant-Animal Interactions, Timber Regeneration, and Forest Management
Conceptual of model of the effects of defaunation on plant-animal interactions and timber regeneration.
Plant-animal interactions are prominent in tropical forests, and can play a large role in tree regeneration, with both positive (mutualistic seed dispersal) and negative (antagonistic seed predation and herbivory) effects. Human activities like hunting and logging can change animal communities and disrupt these complex interactions. Whether and to what degree this disruption affects timber regeneration is unknown, but we can make some predictions - see the figure at left, and read the paper here for more insight. Overall, we need a better understanding of natural forest processes in order to promote forest management that maintains ecological integrity while facilitating sustainable human use.