, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 446-450

Population fragmentation may reduce fertility to zero in Banksia goodii — a demonstration of the Allee effect

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Abstract

All individuals of all known populations of Banksia goodii were assessed for seed production. Small populations produced no or only a few seeds per unit canopy area. Effects of population size on seed production per unit area and seed production per plant were present over the whole range of population sizes, indicating that even in large populations seed production may still not be at its maximum. Resource differences could not explain this disproportionate decrease in seed production with decline in population size, because there were no differences in soil properties and understorey or overstorey cover between the small and large populations. Although plants in small and large populations were similar in size, seed production per plant was much lower in small populations. This was not because plants in small populations produced fewer cones but because the fraction of these cones that was fertile was much lower. Five of the nine smallest populations (<200 m2) produced no fertile cones over the last 10 years. The number of seeds per fertile cone did not depend on population size. The results are discussed in relation to pollination biology.