ISSN : 2765-2203
Seed dispersal supports community structure, maintains genetic connectivity across fragmented landscapes, and influences vegetation assemblages. In the Philippines, only two seed dispersal studies have compared different dispersal agents. We examined the seed dispersal patterns of water, wind, birds, and bats in the Caliraya Watershed, Philippines. We aimed to determine the floral species that were dispersed and how the forest characteristics influenced seed dispersal. By running seed rain traps and drift litter collection from March to June 2022, we analyzed 14,090 seeds in a privately owned study site within the watershed. Water did not exclusively disperse any species and acted as a secondary disperser. Seed density (seeds/trap) was significantly higher for bird-dispersed (n=166) and bat-dispersed (n=145) seeds than for wind-dispersed (n=79) seeds (One-way analysis of variance [ANOVA]: F2,87=16.21, P<0.0001). Species number (species/trap) was significantly higher for bird-dispersed (n=3.7) and bat-dispersed (n=3.9) seeds than for wind-dispersed (n=0.2) seeds (One-way ANOVA: F2,87=16.67, P<0.0001). Birds dispersed more species because they are more diverse and access a wider variety of fruits, unlike bats. Birds and bats target different fruits and provide separate seed dispersal services. Generalized linear model analyses revealed that the number and basal area of fleshy fruit trees most strongly influenced the bird seed dispersal patterns. Therefore, we recommend a three-way approach to restoration efforts in the Caliraya Watershed: (1) ensure the presence of fleshy fruit trees in restoration zones, (2) assist the establishment of mid-successional and wind-dispersed trees, and (3) intensify the conservation efforts for both flora and faunal diversity.