Avian Frugivory and Seed Dispersal of Indian Sandal Wood Santalum Album in Tamilnadu, India

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JoTT Note

3(5): 1775–1777

Avian frugivory and seed dispersal of Indian Sandalwood Santalum album in Tamil Nadu, India P. Balasubramanian 1, R. Aruna 2, C. Anbarasu 2 & E. Santhoshkumar 2 Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Anaikatty PO, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu 641108, India Email: 1 balusacon@yahoo.com (corresponding author) 1,2

Santalum album (Santalaceae) is a medium sized evergreen tree found in dry forest tracts of the Deccan Peninsula, where the major sandal growing tracts are located in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Sandal is also distributed in parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The species was introduced to several areas of central and northern India, where it has naturalized and spread. It can grow up to an elevation of 1200m and in rainfall zones of 300–3000 mm. Flower panicles appear during December–April and fruiting occurs throughout the year (Matthew 1991). The fruit is a fleshy purplish-black globose drupe measuring approximately a centimetre in diameter. This species also regenerates from wood suckers. Viable seeds are produced after five years and dispersed by birds (Asian Regional Workshop 1998). Fire, grazing and exploitation of the wood for fine furniture, carving Date of publication (online): 26 May 2011 Date of publication (print): 26 May 2011 ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print) Editor: Richard Thomas Corlett Manuscript details: Ms # o2552 Received 27 August 2010 Final received 04 April 2011 Finally accepted 02 May 2011 Citation: Balasubramanian, P., R. Aruna, C. Anbarasu & E. Santhoshkumar (2011). Avian frugivory and seed dispersal of Indian Sandalwood Santalum album in Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 3(5): 1775–1777. Copyright: © P. Balasubramanian, R. Aruna, C. Anbarasu & E. Santhoshkumar 2011. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication. Acknowledgements: We thank the Tamilnadu Forest Department for their support. Thanks are due to Dr. G Kumaravelu, IFS, former Additional PCCF, Mr. R.K. Ojha, IFS, Mr. H. Malleshappa, IFS and Mr. K. G. Anand Naik IFS for the encouragement. We are grateful to Dr. P.A. Azeez, Director, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History for the encouragement. OPEN ACCESS | FREE DOWNLOAD

and oil are threatening the species (Asian Regional Workshop 1998). There is much concern regarding over-exploitation due to smuggling for trade. Santalum album is a Vulnerable (IUCN 2010) and threatened species in southern India (Ravikumar et al. 2000). Although known as a bird-dispersed species, very little information is available on frugivory and seed dispersal of S. album. Biotic dispersal consists of removal of plant propagules by animal frugivores and the deposition of seeds away from the source plant. The pulp of fleshy fruits, with the soft, edible, nutritious tissues surrounding the seeds is a primary food source for many animals, notably birds and mammals (Howe 1986). These animals regurgitate, defecate, spit out or otherwise drop the undamaged seeds away from the parent plants; they are the seed dispersers that establish a dynamic link between the fruiting plant and the seed-seedling bank in natural communities (Jordano 2000). Avian frugivores are considered as the most important seed dispersers in most ecosystems (Herrera 1995; Stiles 2000). Parrots, some pigeons and finches are seed predators (Corlett 1998). The study of interactions between avian frugivores and plant species is important for identifying the roles of individual disperser species play in plant recruitment dynamics, thus having implications for both theoretical understanding of mutualisms, species interactions and for applied work, including conservation and restoration (Jordano 1987; Loiselle & Blake 1999). The present study was carried out to assess the...
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