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Rodent-mediated plant seed dispersal: what happens to the seeds after entering the gaps with different sizes?
  • +4
  • Fei Yu,
  • Guangjie Li,
  • Shanshan Wei,
  • Xianfeng Yi,
  • Jianmin Ma,
  • Keming Ma,
  • Guangwen Chen
Fei Yu
Henan Normal University
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Guangjie Li
Henan Normal University
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Shanshan Wei
Henan Normal University
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Xianfeng Yi
Qufu Normal University
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Jianmin Ma
Henan Normal University
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Keming Ma
Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Guangwen Chen
Henan Normal University
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Abstract

In general, it is accepted that gap formation significantly affects the placement of scatter-hoarded seeds by small rodents, but the effects of different forest gap sizes on the seed-eating and scatter-hoarding behaviors of small rodents remain unclear. Thus, we examined the effects of a closed canopy forest, forest edge, and gaps with different sizes on the spatial dispersal of Quercus variabilis acorns and cache placement by small rodents using coded plastic tags in the Taihang Mountains, China. The seeds were removed rapidly and there were significant differences in the seed-eating and caching strategies between the stand types. We found that Q. variabilis acorns were usually eaten after being removed from the closed canopy forest and forest edges. By contrast, the Q. variabilis acorns in the forest gap stands were more likely to be scatter hoarded. The dispersal distances of Q. variabilis acorns were significantly longer in the forest gap plots compared with the closed canopy and forest edge plots. However, the proportions of scatter-hoarded seeds did not increase significantly as the gap size increased. In small-scale oak reforestation projects or research, creating small gaps to promote rodent-mediated seed dispersal may effectively accelerate forest recovery and successional processes.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

28 Jun 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
30 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
30 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
30 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Aug 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
09 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor