An approach to acorn production in Iberian dehesas
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Acorn production is one of the most important products in silvopastoral systems in the Mediterranean region. In the present study we carried out two preliminary trials to analyze the distribution of production over time and the effect of pruning. The objective was to develop tools to manage this valuable resource within these systems. In the first part of the study, we analyzed the total acorn production of a holm oak stand, and its seasonal distribution (October–January) over two years (1997–1998 and 1998–1999) in five sites in the southwest of Spain. Mean total acorn production ranged from 590 to 830 kg ha−1. There was considerable variation between the different sites and years studied, as was expected from studies on other oak species. A comparison was also made of acorn production, comparing annual acorn production between 40 pruned and 40 non-pruned trees, for the period 1994–1999. There was an interaction between ‘pruning treatment’ and ‘year’. Pruning, significantly decreased acorn production in all but two years when production was above the average, whereas production was not affected by pruning the three years that acorn yield was below the average. The study of acorn production and the analysis of the effect of pruning, needs to be studied over a longer time period.