Tropical Epiphytes include a wide variety of species of algae, fungi and plants. forests (like mosses clinging to the base and sides of trees). Waikato region of the North Island, and the water relations of the shrub . Conservation, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Pukemokemoke Bush. Reserve tropical rainforest tree in Costa Rica to be °C warmer and 15 % less humid. epiphytic relationships between the tree ferns and those vascular plant species which utilise its caudex. nutrient poor and seasonally inundated tropical rainforest. Eleven woody Tasmania.' (Tasmanian Conservation Trust: Canberra).
Hummingbirds were also observed to defend their feeding territories which consisted of plants. It may follow that hummingbird selection of nectar rewards in epiphytic angiosperms could be similar and they may exhibit similar territoriality. How the territoriality relates to reproductive success of the angiosperm needs further study. Another study on bird-pollination was done in the tropical rainforest of Malaysia Yumoto, This study focused on three species of Durio all of which are also self-incompatible.
An interesting aspect of this study is that they found two of the three species were dependent on bird pollination specifically spiderhunters Nectariniidae while the third was pollinated by honey bees and bats in addition to birds.
In a study conducted in the montane forests of Argentina, birds were captured mist nets and patterns of abundance were compared to two parameters, elevation and seasonal differences wet or dry seasons. They also studied the fecal contents of species encountered and found fruit seeds or pulp to be clearly highest in the Andean slaty-thrush Turdus nigriceps. Few other fecal samples were found to have fruit seeds or pulp. It would be interesting to see the correlation of seed dispersal and the occurrence of T.
Although that correlation has not been made that I know of it appears that fruit bearing plants in season are important to bird abundance in these forests. Epiphytes are noted as abundant in the study areas as well.
The Ecology of Tropical Epiphytes and Their Relationship to Neotropical Birds- Final
A few of the papers I read complained of the lack of information related specifically to epiphyte and bird interactions. While many researchers have noted occurrences coincidental to their research, specific relationships have yet to be studied in detail.
I found this to be frustrating as well. Most of the specific interdependence between these two groupings might be pieced together with existing data but this has yet to be confidently shown. It follows then that tropical epiphyte survival is directly linked to survival of tropical rainforests.
Some epiphyte species have been found on plants in a plantation close to an old growth cloud forest, however the abundance and diversity were greatly reduced Hietz, Proximity to the old growth rainforest is presumed to have an effect on the appearance of epiphytes in the plantation as reproductive success in the species of the plantation was also greatly reduced.
Other epiphyte species typically occupying the middle range of the forest where shade and moisture are abundant, were completely absent in the plantation. Hietz suggest that the shade species will be most seriously affected by deforestation and disturbance. Habitat destruction is the main cause of extinction today, however other anthropogenic effects have been noted as important to the tropical rainforest.
One of these effects is air pollution which is also linked to global warming. It seems obvious that plants deriving nutrients from aerial fallout would be affected by pollutants.
Once the bases of epiphyte communities are affected, species such as lichens and mosses, the whole community will suffer as well. This will invariably affect the bird species dependent on such resources.
Introduction of exotic plants and animals to the rainforest can also affect the rainforest ecosystem. In many areas of the world, introduced species are often able to out-compete for resources and eventually lead to the reduction or extinction of certain native species and in some cases, native communities.
What can be done? Hietz studied the practice of coffee plantations established under the canopy of an old growth rainforest and found epiphyte abundance to be about the same as in the natural forest. He suggests that these types of plantations can maintain epiphyte populations if the forest strata is maintained. That is, the old growth trees are literally left alone and those trees with significant epiphyte growth be avoided altogether, leaving pockets of undisturbed areas within the plantation.
It seems logical that if habitat destruction is the primary cause of species extinction today then to solve this problem habitat must be preserved. It is well known that tropical rainforests are being destroyed faster than any other terrestrial biome in the world today.
So why do we not just stop this destruction? Easier said than done! Significant efforts have been under way for some time now and one of the most hopeful examples is the Monteverde Cloud Forest of Costa Rica. The Tropical Science Foundation administers this acre private preserve and encourages scientific research which has been going on for over 30 years. It has been suggested that even with this high level of long term protection the cloud forest could be susceptible to other environmental concerns such as global warming and deforestation which are thought to be responsible for raising the height of the cloud layer Larsen, Beyond complete habitat protection and management ownership of the landit is a difficult task to simply stop destruction of the rainforest or any ecosystem especially if we consider that often people are dependent on this resource for their very lives and those of their families.
Links can be made between deforestation and the secondary impacts to the tropical rainforests to nearly any place in the world. There are clear indications that the people of North America can have a hand in reducing this impact.
If pollution and CO2 production are impacting the tropical rainforests then reducing this impact can have world wide implications. Simple ways to do this would be reducing electrical use burning of coal is our primary source of electricity.
Turn off the lights! Of course, drive fewer miles and more fuel efficient cars, car pool or even public transportation. Reduce potable water use to only the essentials sorry golfers! Buy environmentally friendly products, shade grown coffee for example. And finally, pass on the message to others, especially children who will inherit all of this and more.
In broader terms it must be recognized that the size of the human population cannot be ignored. From a strictly ecological perspective, as a species continues to grow exponentially, resource use will also grow exponentially until a limiting factor is applied.
Humans rely on food as all other heterotrophs do and continually eliminating this as a limiting factor will only continue the rate of growth until another limiting factor kicks in. This could be any number of things that I will not go into here, but suffice to say it cannot be pretty. That said, who would like to volunteer and help reduce the world population?
Ideally and my hope is that humans will voluntarily reduce population by reducing reproductive rate. This can only be done if and when a significant majority of people recognize this as a problem and take personal responsibility to act. Getting into the whole realm of personal responsibility brings up many of the questions we grapple with throughout our lives, social, political, economic and yes, even spiritual.
I am convinced that this can only be done if viewed as a deeply personal issue and not solely a societal issue. There are other ways of course like imposing laws, but ultimately this does not work in the face of human choice which we must avoid restricting at all cost as it degrades the human condition even further.
As may be apparent I could go on and on in this line of thought. I also recognize the possible debate that these suggestions might inspire. The summarizing point is that once we can recognize our connection to the tropical rainforests, tank bromeliads, and spidercatcher birds then we can see that what we do does matter after all.
We do have an impact and we can help to reduce that here in our own world and our own homes.
We cannot look at it as a hopeless endeavor, working on what is occurring hundreds of miles away where our futile attempts appear fruitless. It is essential that we act and that we know this makes a difference, whether we realize that change on a global level in our life time or not does not matter, we each can make the difference. Diversity and Conservation of Epiphytes in a Changing Environment. Conservation and Utilization, NovemberPhuket, Thailand.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest. Attracting and Rewarding Mutualistic and Antagonistic Visitors. American Journal of Botany 91 7: A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. American Journal of Botany 87 8: The Physiological Ecology of Vascular Epiphytes: Current Knowledge, Open Questions. Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol 52, No. And the pumpkins shaded out competing weeds. And even something as simple as the relationship of a tree to the groundcover beneath it can be considered a beneficial, plant-plant relationship.
The tree casts shade, providing habitat for a shade-loving groundcover, and the groundcover in turn keeps more deep-rooted and competitive grasses at bay. One interesting group of plants are the epiphytes. Relatively rare in temperate regions, epiphytes are quite common in tropical rainforests.
An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant, neither harming nor helping it. For example, mosses can be epiphytic, growing harmlessly on tree trunks. More exclusively epiphytic plants are the bromeliads and some orchids. Bromeliads are plants that commonly grow high in the branches of tropical rainforest trees.
They are often found in the joint where a branch meets the trunk; there, fallen plant debris collects, providing a source of nutrients to the bromeliad. Some species of bromeliad have cup-shaped leaf rosettes. The cup fills with water during the frequent rains, and the plant is able to use this supply to fill its water needs. Though bromeliads perch in the branches, they do no harm to the tree.