Skip to main content

Using Plant–Animal Interactions to Inform Tree Selection in Tree-Based Agroecosystems for Enhanced Biodiversity




  • Peters, Valerie E., Carlo, Tomás A., Mello, Marco A. R., Rice, Robert A., Tallamy, Doug W., Caudill, S. A. and Fleming, Theodore H.


  • The Neotropical region harbors the world's most diverse terrestrial plant communities. A key component of this diversity is a range of plant–animal interactions involving frugivory, nectarivory, and insectivory. Millions of Neotropical hectares subjected to human land-use systems contain trees that are either planted by land managers or retained from the pre-existing forests. Biodiversity-conservation approaches in these systems are often ineffective because of the unfounded assumption that all plants provide equal benefits for consumers. We propose criteria for tree-species selection based on plant–animal interaction research that could guide decisionmakers. We show that tree-species identity is key for enhancing biodiversity and recommend that selection be guided by the structure of plant–animal interaction networks. We also recommend that selection practices consider the timing of resource production, because the year-round availability of food resources in the Neotropics plays an important role in the adaptive radiation of nectar- and fruit-eating vertebrates.

Published In

Publication Date

  • 2016


Digital Object Identifier (doi)

Additional Document Info

Start Page

  • 1046

End Page

  • 1056


  • 66


  • 12