Flying vs. climbing: Factors controlling arboreal seed removal in oak-beech forests

Perea García-Calvo, Luis Alfonso and San Miguel Ayanz, Alfonso and Gil Sanchez, Luis Alfonso (2011). Flying vs. climbing: Factors controlling arboreal seed removal in oak-beech forests. "Forest Ecology and Management", v. 262 (n. 7); pp. 1251-1257. ISSN 0378-1127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.022.

Description

Title: Flying vs. climbing: Factors controlling arboreal seed removal in oak-beech forests
Author/s:
  • Perea García-Calvo, Luis Alfonso
  • San Miguel Ayanz, Alfonso
  • Gil Sanchez, Luis Alfonso
Item Type: Article
Título de Revista/Publicación: Forest Ecology and Management
Date: October 2011
Volume: 262
Subjects:
Faculty: E.T.S.I. Montes (UPM)
Department: Silvopascicultura [hasta 2014]
Creative Commons Licenses: Recognition - No derivative works - Non commercial

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Abstract

Nuts are heavy and nutritious seeds that need animals to be successfully dispersed. Most studies address nut removal by a single animal species once seeds fall onto the ground. However, nuts are also accessible before the seed drop and usually to a wide guild of seed foragers. This study examines the factorscontrollingarborealseedremoval in oak–beechforests within the whole guild of nut foragers. We found that seed-dispersing rodents (Apodemus sylvaticus) were the main acorn removers in the oaks (up to 3.75 m height), with a rapid seed encounter and a high removal rate. However, rodents did not climb the beech trees, probably due to their smoother bark in comparison to oak bark and/or the lower nutritional value of beechnuts with regard to acorns. Jays (Garrulus glandarius) were more abundant in oak stands (both dense and scattered) and clearly preferred acorns to beechnuts whereas nuthatches (Sitta europaea) were more abundant in beech stands and preferred beechnuts to acorns. Non-storing birds such as great tits (Parus major) also removed acorns and beechnuts, especially in the stands where oaks are dominant. Jays and rodents preferred sound seeds over insect-infested seeds but such a preference was not found for nuthatches. This study highlights that pure beech stands showed a reduced guild of arboreal nut foragers in comparison to oak stands. This different guild could probably affect the spatial patterns of seed dispersal, with a proportionally higher number of long dispersal events for acorns (mostly jay-dispersed) than for beechnuts (mostly nuthatch-dispersed). Long-distance dispersal of beechnuts (by jays) is determined by the presence of other preferred species (oaks) and their frequency of non-mast years. Seed location in different habitats strongly determines the contribution of different arboreal removers (including climbing rodents) and their removal speed, leading to a differential seed fate that will eventually affect tree regeneration. As nuthatches are sedentary birds, it is important to maintain old and dead trees where they can breed (crevices), forage (arthropods) and store seeds in order to favor beechnut dispersal and gene flow. By maintaining or favoring oak trees within beech stands we will ensure a wider guild of arboreal nut dispersers.

More information

Item ID: 11666
DC Identifier: http://oa.upm.es/11666/
OAI Identifier: oai:oa.upm.es:11666
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.022
Deposited by: Memoria Investigacion
Deposited on: 11 Jul 2012 11:43
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2019 13:05
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