Comparing seed removal rates in actively and passively restored tropical moist forests

Enock Ssekuubwa*, Leif E. Loe, Douglas Sheil, Mnason Tweheyo, Stein R. Moe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


High rates of seed removal can impede forest recovery, but tropical seed removal studies are few and mainly from the neotropics. Little is known about the comparative influences of active restoration (i.e. planting) and passive restoration (i.e. protection of natural regrowth) on seed removal. We conducted an evaluation of seed removal in grasslands, natural forests (tropical moist semideciduous forest), and actively (21-, 17-, 16-, 11-, 8-, and 6-year-old) and passively (21-year-old) restored forests in Kibale National Park, Uganda. We wanted to compare the effect of vegetation type, time since restoration and restoration actions (i.e. active vs. passive) on removal of seeds of five animal-dispersed tree species during wet and dry seasons. Seeds were either fully exposed or placed in closed mesh cages or under a mesh roof. We used differential removal rates between these treatments to attribute seed removal to different animal taxa. Seed removal rate (percentage of seed removed over a 4-day period) was highest in passively restored forests, compared with actively restored forests, grasslands, and natural forests. We detected no significant relationship between time since restoration and seed removal rates within actively restored sites. Seed removal rate from roofed treatments was not significantly different from removal from open treatments but was significantly higher than removal from closed treatments, which we interpret as reflecting the greater effect of small mammals versus insects. Smaller seeds tended to be removed at a greater rate than larger seeds. We discuss the implications of these findings for forest regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-728
Number of pages9
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • active and passive restorations
  • arrested succession
  • seed predation
  • seed removal
  • time since restoration
  • tropical forests

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