Hemiepiphytic or "strangler" fig seeds are dispersed by vertebrates to establishment sites on potential host trees. Despite the importance of figs in rain forests and considerable interest in their ecology, little has been known about their early life history because it occurs in the canopy. In this paper I review work related to fig seed germination and seedling establishment and summarize my recent field experiments in the Bornean rain forest canopy to provide a synopsis of current information on fig seedling ecology. The emerging picture suggests that fig seeds germinate readily anywhere if they get enough moisture. For subsequent survival and growth, water, nutrients, and light are required, but the most limiting factor in the canopy is water stress, even in perhumid rain forests. Given a good establishment site such as a large knothole or other place on a host tree where water is trapped and nutrients accumulate, fig seedlings can take advantage of high light levels and grow rapidly. However, such sites are rare and figs also face insect seed prédation and herbivory as important mortality factors in the canopy.
Open Access and Copyright Notice
Selbyana is committed to real and immediate open access for academic work. All of Selbyana's articles and reviews are free to access immediately upon publication. There are no author charges (APCs) prior to publication, and no charges for readers to download articles and reviews for their own scholarly use. To facilitate this, Selbyana depends on the financial backing of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the hard work and dedication of its editorial team and advisory board, and the continuing support of its network of peer reviewers and partner institutions.
Authors are free to choose which open license they would like to use for their work. Our default license is the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0). While Selbyana’s articles can be copied by anyone for noncommercial purposes if proper credit is given, all materials are published under an open-access license with authors retaining full and permanent ownership of their work. The author grants Selbyana a perpetual, non-exclusive right to publish the work and to include it in other aggregations and indexes to achieve broader impact and visibility.
Authors are responsible for and required to ascertain that they are in possession of image rights for any and all photographs, illustrations, and figures included in their work or to obtain publication or reproduction rights from the rights holders. Contents of the journal will be registered with the Directory of Open Access Journals and similar repositories. Authors are encouraged to store their work elsewhere, for instance in institutional repositories or personal websites, including commercial sites such as academia.edu, to increase circulation (see The Effects of Open Access).