Vegetatio

, Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 193–205 | Cite as

Spatial patterns of dispersal, seed predation and germination during colonization of abandoned grassland by Quercus petraea and Corylus avellana

  • Johannes Kollmann
  • Hans-Peter Schill
Article

Abstract

Key processes during recruitment of Quercus petraea and Corylus avellana were investigated in abandoned calcareous grasslands and adjacent scrub using the following methods: (1) observation of hoarding animals during the main period of ripening of acorns and hazel nuts, (2) exposition of seeds on the soil surface and in 5–6 cm depth to test differences in predation and germination, and (3) mapping of seedlings in the grasslands. European jays (Garrulus glandarius) and mice were the main disperser of seeds. Jays preferred acorns, whereas the rodents were less selective, but probably more important for dispersal of nuts. The maximum dispersal distance was about 10–20 m for mice and was estimated several hundred metres for jays. Mice collected hoards of several seeds in about 2 cm depth in the soil, whereas jays stored single seeds. Seed predation and probably hoarding by mice were highest under scrub and in unmown grassland, while jays preferred mown sites for hoarding. However, hiding of seeds in the soil reduced losses in all sites. Predation of nuts was slightly less intensive than that of acorns. Seeds of Corylus were more sensitive to desiccation than Quercus, but in both species germination was lower for seeds exposed on the soil surface and in drier sites. Quercus and Corylus were the most abundant woody species in the fallow grasslands, probably due to the effective multi-staged dispersal by jays and mice, whereas wind-dispersed and fleshy-fruited species were less common; the latter restricted to margins of adjacent scrubland. The study provides several examples for discordance in suitability of patches for seeds and seedlings due to different habitat requirements of successive developmental stages. This result emphasizes the need for studies in the multiple stages during recruitment of vertebrate-dispersed plants.

Key words

Garrulus glandarius Hoarding Recruitment Retrieval Rodents Secondary dispersal 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Kollmann
    • 1
  • Hans-Peter Schill
    • 2
  1. 1.Geobotanisches Institut ETHZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institut für Biologie II (Geobotanik)Universität FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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