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Annual cycles are the most common reproductive strategy in African tropical tree communities

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Author(s)

  • Gabriela Simina Adamescu
  • Andrew J. Plumptre
  • Katharine A. Abernethy
  • Leo Polansky
  • Emma R. Bush
  • Colin A. Chapman
  • Luke P. Shoo
  • Adeline Fayolle
  • Karline R. L. Janmaat
  • Martha M. Robbins
  • Henry J. Ndangalasi
  • Norbert J. Cordeiro
  • Ian C. Gilby
  • Roman M. Wittig
  • Thomas Breuer
  • Mireille Ndoundou-Hockemba
  • Crickette M. Sanz
  • David B. Morgan
  • Anne E. Pusey
  • Badru Mugerwa
  • Baraka Gilagiza
  • Caroline Tutin
  • Corneille E. N. Ewango
  • Douglas Sheil
  • Edmond Dimoto
  • Fidele Baya
  • Flort Bujo
  • Fredrick Ssali
  • Jean Thoussaint Dikangadissi
  • Kathryn J. Jeffery
  • Kim Valenta
  • Lee J T White
  • Michel Masozera
  • Michael L. Wilson
  • Robert Bitariho
  • Sydney T. Ndolo Ebika
  • Sylvie Gourlet-Fleury
  • Felix Mulindahabi

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Publication details

JournalBiotropica
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 16 May 2018
Issue number3
Volume50
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)418-430
Early online date16/05/18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We present the first cross continental comparison of the flowering and fruiting phenology of tropical forests across Africa. Flowering events of 5,446 trees from 196 species across 12 sites, and fruiting events of 4,595 trees from 191 species, across 11 sites were monitored over periods of 6 to 29 years, and analysed to describe phenology at the continental level. To study phenology we used Fourier analysis to identify the dominant cycles of flowering and fruiting for each individual tree and we identified the time of year African trees bloom and bear fruit and their relationship to local seasonality. Reproductive strategies were diverse and no single regular cycle was found in >50% of individuals across all 12 sites. Additionally, we found annual flowering and fruiting cycles to be the most common. Sub-annual cycles were the next most common for flowering whereas supra-annual patterns were the next most common for fruiting. We also identify variation in different subsets of species, with species exhibiting mainly annual cycles most common in West and West-Central African tropical forests, while more species at sites in East-Central and Eastern African forests showed cycles ranging from sub-annual to supra-annual. Despite many trees showing strong seasonality, at most sites some flowering and fruiting occurred all year round. Environmental factors with annual cycles are likely to be important drivers of seasonal periodicity in trees across Africa, but proximate triggers are unlikely to be constant across the continent

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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