Fruit and flower phenology at two sites in Kibale National Park, Uganda

C. A. Chapman*, R. W. Wrangham, L. J. Chapman, D. K. Kennard, A. E. Zanne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Citations (Scopus)


Examination of phenological patterns of tropical trees at different temporal and spatial scales can elucidate biotic and abiotic factors that correlate with fruiting, flowering and/or leaf set patterns. In this study, 3793 trees from 104 species in Kibale National Park, Uganda were monitored. The trees were selected from two sites (Kanyawara and Ngogo) separated by 10 km. Trees were monitored monthly to document community-wide and population-level fruiting and flowering patterns for a maximum of 76 mo. Analysis of two sites over a number of years permitted examination of generalities of patterns found on smaller spatial and temporal scales. Spectral analysis indicated that community-level flowering and fruiting at Kanyawara exhibited regular annual peaks, although the flowering peaks were of shorter duration. At Ngogo, community-level flowering also displayed regular annual peaks, but fruiting had an irregular pattern with no distinct peaks. The abundance of fruiting trees at Kanyawara was negatively related to the minimum temperature in the previous season (3-7 mo prior). Since fruiting tended to peak when the first wet season of the year was ending and the dry season was beginning, this suggests that the minimum temperature in the previous dry season is important in determining how many individuals fruit. Flowering at Kanyawara peaked immediately after the maximum annual period of high irradiance. Within-species synchronization was evident in the flowering for all species examined at Ngogo and for 64% of those at Kanyawara. Fruiting was synchronous within species for 64% of the species at both sites. Despite this general community-level synchronization, the months of peak fruiting and flowering for some species varied markedly among years. Furthermore, for a number of species the timing of fruiting or flowering events differed between Kanyawara and Ngogo. For some species, trends that were suggested from one year of data were not supported when additional years were considered. Although these two sites are close together, share many of the same species, and experience similar climatic regimes, many phenological patterns were site-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-211
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Flowering
  • Fruiting
  • Kibale National Park
  • Phenology
  • Seasonality
  • Seed dispersal
  • Spectral analysis
  • Tropical trees


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