In tropical forests, rodents exert a prominent role as post-dispersal seed predators, while other vertebrates apparently have a minor effect on seed predation. In some forest fragments in southeast Brazil, however, the density of rodents is unusually low, whereas terrestrial granivorous birds are abundant. In this study, we used seeds of a second-growth tree (Croton priscus, Euphorbiaceae) to investigate experimentally the relative importance of rodents and birds as seed predators in a forest fragment. We also estimated the density of terrestrial granivorous birds and trapped small mammals. Results indicate that, as a consequence of decreased rodent population and increased bird abundance, the latter are at least as important as the former as the main post-dispersal seed predators of C. priscus. We interpret such apparent imbalance in the interaction between C. priscus and their seed predators as a possible consequence of forest fragmentation.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3