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DOI 10.1007/s00442-005-0103-7
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Title (Primary) Rodent seed predation promotes bird-dispersed trees in temperate differential recruitment among secondary forests
Author García, D.; Obeso, J.R.; Martínez, I.
Journal Oecologia
Year 2005
Department OESA
Volume 144
Issue 3
Page From 435
Page To 446
Language englisch
Abstract We investigated the role of seed predation by rodents in the recruitment of the fleshy-fruited trees Taxus baccata, Ilex aquifolium and Crataegus monogyna in temperate secondary forests in NW Spain. We measured the densities of dispersed seeds, early emerged seedlings, established recruits and adults, at four sites over a period of 2 years. Seed predation among species was compared by seed removal experiments and analysis of rodent larder-hoards. The three species differed markedly in local regeneration patterns. The rank order in the seed rain following decreasing seed density was flex, Taxus and Crataegus. However, Crataegus established 3.3 times more seedlings than Taxus. For all species, there was a positive linear relationship between the density of emerged seedlings and seed density, suggesting that recruitment was seed-rather than microsite-limited. A consistent pattern of seed selection among species was exerted by rodents, which preferred Taxus and, secondarily, flex seeds to Crataegus seeds. Predation ranking was the inverse of that of seed protection against predators, measured as the mass of woody coat per mass unit of the edible fraction. Recruitment potential, evaluated as the ratio of seedlings to seeds, was negatively related to seed predation, with the rank order Crataegus>Ilex>Taxus. The selective early recruitment limitation exerted by predation may have a demographic effect in the long term, as judged by the positive relationship between early seedling emergence and the density of established recruits. By modulating the pre-emptive competition for seed safe sites, rodents may preclude the progressive exclusion of species that produce low numbers of seeds (i.e. Crataegus) by those dominant in seed number (i.e. flex, Taxus), or at least foster the evenness for site occupation among seedlings of different species
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García, D., Obeso, J.R., Martínez, I. (2005):
Rodent seed predation promotes bird-dispersed trees in temperate differential recruitment among secondary forests
Oecologia 144 (3), 435 - 446