Photos from the Field: Timing and Frequency of Flowering and Fruiting Events in Bornean Peat-Swamp Forests
Harrison et al., (2016). Disparity in Onset Timing and Frequency of Flowering and Fruiting Events in Two Bornean Peat-Swamp Forests. Biotropica, 48: 188–197. doi: 10.1111/btp.12265
The timing and frequency of flowering and fruiting events are key tropical forest characteristics that have substantial influence on fauna. Although our understanding of geographic variation in habitat-wide timing and frequency of flowering and fruiting is advancing, corresponding information for individual tree species is limited. Thus, we compared climate and reproductive phenology of 16 tree species over 70 mo at two Bornean tropical peat-swamp forest sites. We found significant inter-site correlations in rainfall and temperature, and only small absolute temperature differences. In both sites, most species exhibited within-site synchrony in flowering and fruiting onset. Broad-scale flowering and fruiting onset frequency classifications showed high congruence between sites. Significant correlations in flowering and fruiting onset timing between sites were found for only 19 and 17 percent of the species, respectively. This remained the case when applying 1- and 2-month lag periods for both sites, with neither site consistently lagging behind. Significant differences in the exact frequency of new flowering and fruiting events were detected for 44 and 58 percent of species, respectively, and no significant relationships between the onset timing synchrony and exact frequency of new reproductive events were found for either flowers or fruit. We conclude that inter-site climatic and ecological similarities do not necessarily lead to high inter-site synchrony in either onset timing or exact frequency of tree reproductive events. Potential reasons for this are discussed, as are the implications for understanding tropical forest ecology and improving forest restoration project seed collections.