, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 184–192 | Cite as

Seed production and outbreaks of non-cyclic rodent populations in deciduous forests

  • Thomas Secher Jensen


In a 10-year study period, outbreaks of the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus, Schreber only occurred in years following huge seed production of European beech, Fagus sylvatica. Intensive winter reprodution preceded the outbreaks, in contrast to a normal breeding season from April through September. No winter reproduction occurred in nearby populations from habitats without mast production. During the winter, the average weight of C. glareolus remained high in the mast forests and the age structure resembled that of a summer breeding population. Despite excess energy requirements of winter breeding, survival rates were similar to that of non-breeding winter populations. In mast years, rodent consumption in the beech forest was estimated as 1.0–10.3% of endosperm production available to postdispersal seed predators. Between mast years rodent consumption made up 30–100% of endosperm production available. Mast years occurred at irregular intervals and seed production seems to be synchronized between individual trees over large areas and induced by climatic events. These phenomena lead to seed predator satiation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Secher Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Zoology and ZoophysiologyUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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