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Artificial nest predation rates in tropical and temperate forests: a review of the effects of edge and nest site

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Nest predation rates are believed to be higher in tropical than in temperate forests. This notion is central in explaining different life history traits of tropical and temperate birds, but it is not known whether this assertion is true for all nest sites, such as ground and shrub nests, and at different distances from forest edge. I reviewed 22 studies using artificial nest experiments which concurrently contrasted predation rates of ground and shrub nests in temperate and tropical forests and found, contrary to the current dogma, no overall difference in predation rates between regions. However, there was a significant interaction between region and nest site. Ground nest predation rates were significantly higher in the tropical region, while predation rates on shrub nests were similar between regions. Within the tropical region, ground nests had significantly higher predation rates than shrub nests. Elevated nest predation rates at forest edges were found in both temperate and tropical forests. The results may have great implications for expected patterns of avian life histories and for the effects of forest fragmentation in temperate and tropical regions. First, if nest predation affects avian life histories, my results predict ground‐nesting species in tropical forests to have shorter nestling periods, more broods and smaller clutch sizes than shrub‐nesting species. Second, vulnerability of ground‐ and shrub‐nesting guilds is suggested to differ between regions due to differences in forest vegetation structure, and the composition of predator faunas and their specific responses to forest fragmentation. Data to test these hypotheses are limited, but agree with the results of this review.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ), Dept of Conservation Biology, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7002, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden.

Publication date: August 1, 1999

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