Seed production and soil seed bank in three evergreen woody species from a neotropical savanna
(Azócar, Aura; García, Nuñez, Carlos and Silva, Juan F. )

Results of a 3-y study on the populations of three evergreen woody species (Byrsonima crassifolia, Palicourea rigida and Bowdichia virgilioides), from a regularly burnt savanna, in Venezuela, are reported. Tree density, size structure, fruitseed production per tree of different size classes and soil seed bank were estimated. Viable seed production was one order of magnitude higher in B. crassifolia, which was also the only species with a permanent soil seed bank. Seeds of B. virgilioides germinated readily after dispersal, whilst seeds of P. rigida showed an innate dormancy synchronously released after a year. Both of the latter species seemed to maximize the first growth season by germinating at the beginning of the favourable season. In B. crassifolia, germination proceeds with an early small burst of germination, possibly followed by a second peak at the beginning of the next rainy season and little or no germination thereafter. The results showed that despite the high .re frequency, the studied species produce a substantial number of viable propagules, and have the capacity to germinate in field conditions (readiness depending on the species). Sexual reproduction is expected, therefore, to play an important role, as suggested by their reproductive investment, in longterm population maintenance.

Artículo publicado en: Journal of Tropical Ecology (2001). Cambridge University Press.