The role of great apes in seed dispersal of the tropical forest tree species Dacryodes normandii (Burseraceae) in Gabon. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 31(05), 395 – 402
The identification of seed dispersers and predators is essential to understand the effect of anthropogenic disturbances, and the associated defaunation process, on tropical forest dynamics in Central Africa. In this study, the animals involved in seed predation and dispersal of Dacryodes normandii (Burseraceae), an endozoochorously dispersed tree species endemic to Gabonese forests, were identified in a site in south-east Gabon using two complementary methods: direct observation and camera-trap monitoring of fruit piles. The combined sampling effort (172 h of direct observations and 796 d of camera trapping) led to the identification of six disperser and eight predator species of D. normandii seeds. With high frequency of consumption (88% and57%of their visits, respectively) and long visit duration (83and23min, respectively), the western lowlandgorillaandcentral chimpanzeewere identified as themaindispersers of this species. Seeds passed through the gorilla gut exhibited high germination success (68%). Rodents were identified as predators of D. normandii seeds, potentially displaying rare secondary dispersal through scatter-hoarding. The results of this study highlight the importance of great apes in the seed dispersal of this tree species.