Background: It has been proposed that the interaction between herbivory and soil nutrient availability drives habitat association of tree species in Peruvian Amazonia. Nevertheless, there is no empirical evidence that this interaction holds across other Amazonian regions. Aims: We address this knowledge gap by testing whether the interaction between herbivory and soil nutrient contributes to habitat association of tree species in white-sand and terra-firme forests in the upper Rio Negro, Brazil. Methods: We conducted a reciprocal transplanting field experiment in which we controlled for the presence of herbivores. We tested for differences in tree-seedling growth and herbivory among seven white-sand and seven terra-firme habitat-specialist species. Additionally, we assessed whether tree seedlings differed in their functional traits. Results: We found no empirical evidence that an interaction between herbivory and soil nutrients shapes habitat association in white-sand and terra-firme forests of the upper Rio Negro. Tree seedlings showed higher mortality when growing in their non-typical habitat. Growth and herbivory were similar regardless of the presence or absence of herbivore protection and type of soil. Conclusions: We suggest that the overall differences in soil nutrient status between white-sand and terra-firme forests in the upper Rio Negro are insufficient to trigger an interaction between herbivory and soil nutrient availability.
- amazonian forests
- resource availability