Effects of habitat fragmentation on the reproductive ecology and conservation genetics of the almendro (Dipteryx panamensis), a keystone rainforest tree
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Deforestation in the tropics creates a mosaic of forest patches embedded in a human-dominated matrix. Maintaining biodiversity in these fragmented landscapes relies on their ability to sustain ecological processes. This study examined the effects of habitat fragmentation on the reproductive ecology and genetic diversity of Dypterix panamensis, a canopy emergent tree considered a keystone species in the Atlantic lowland forests of Central America. Populations of D. panamensis were mapped, sampled and genotyped for nine microsatellite loci in a protected forest, two forest patches and adjacent pastures, and two isolated pasture sites in northern Costa Rica. Additionally, seed dispersal, seed predation and seedling density were assessed along transects placed systematically at the protected forest and fragment sites.