Resource Details

Seed Dispersal Distances and Plant Migration Potential in Tropical East Asia

Literature: Journal Articles

Corlett, R.T. 2009, "Seed Dispersal Distances and Plant Migration Potential in Tropical East Asia," Biotropica, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 592-598.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Singapore



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  • This article investigates the routine maximum dispersal distances of seeds in tropical East Asia, with consideration given to the implications for plant migration in response to climate change. 
  • The normal dispersal agents (including ants, wind, rodents, birds, primates, terrestrial herbivores, large mammals, and humans) are outlined and placed into categories of average dispersal distance.
  • The results suggest that most species will have routine maximum dispersal distances between 100 to 1000 m in nonfragmented forest with an intact fauna; certain flora (such as Dipterocarpaceae and Fagaceae) will typically be dispersed distances less than 100 m, while other species will be dispersed distances greater than 1 km. 
  • Larger trees, which are more likely to be dependent on large-bodied dispersal agents, may have reduced routine maximum dispersal distances due to excessive hunting of their dispersal agents.
  • The routine maximum dispersal distances in fragmented landscapes depend on the gap-crossing ability of dispersal agents; large fruit bats and fruit pigeons are particularly important for seed dispersal across gaps. 
  • The author suggests that natural plant migration in response to climate change may be more viable along altitudinal gradients than lowland climatic gradients since the dispersal distances in the lowland regions will most likely exceed routine maximum dispersal distances for many species.  


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