Arthur's Pass

Current rates of fruit removal and seed dispersal in NewᅠZealand fleshy-fruited mountain plants

The New Zealand mountain flora is rich in fleshy-fruited species but many terrestrial frugivorous birds are extinct or declining, potentially putting seed dispersal mutualisms at risk. To determine whether fruits are currently being removed by animals, we measured removal rates of eight fleshy-fruited mountain plant species from five families over two fruiting seasons, at two sites in inland Canterbury. We compared fruit removal rates within cages (no animal access to fruits), on unmanipulated plants (open-access to fruits by all animals), and within lizard-only cages (large mesh).