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Effects of forest proximity on fruit set and visitor body size of Sandoricum koetjape (Burm.f.) Merr. in Southern Thailand

TUANJIT SRITONGCHUAY, SARA BUMRUNGSRI

Abstract


Recent research reveals that forest loss and fragmentation are associated with declining pollinator diversity and abundance in many parts of the world, including many crop pollinators. Several studies have examined the impact of forest proximity on the richness and abundance of pollinators, as well as the pollination success of diverse plant taxa. However, additional knowledge can be gained by investigating the relationship between forest proximity and pollinator body size, since different size pollinators may
respond differently to forest distance. Using santol (Sandoricum koetjape) trees, we evaluated visitation frequency, flower visitor diversity, size class of visiting stingless bees (small, medium, and large), and fruit set in 10 pairs of mixed fruit orchards. Each pair consisted of one orchard near to (< 1 km) and one orchard far from (> 7 km) the forest edge. Santol fruit set was negatively correlated with distance to forest and positively correlated
with insect richness. The main visitors of santol flowers were stingless bees. While small stingless bees had the highest visitation rates to santol flowers in orchards near the forest edge, they had the lowest visitation rates in orchards far from the forest edge. This study demonstrates that forest patches can be important pollinator sources for agricultural crops
and that the risk of extinction can be greater for small-sized pollinators. Maintaining forest patches may provide stepping stones for ecologically- and agriculturally-important pollinators across fragmented landscapes.

Keywords


body size, forest proximity, santol, stingless bee, tropical rain forest

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