Local and landscape-scale biotic correlates of mistletoe distribution in Mediterranean pine forests

N. Roura-Pascual, L. Brotons, D. García, R. Zamora, M. de Càceres


The study of the spatial patterns of species allows the examination of hypotheses on the most plausible ecological processes and factors determining their distribution. To investigate the determinants of parasite species on Mediterranean forests at regional scales, occurrence data of the European Misletoe (Viscum album) in Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula) were extracted from forest inventory data and combined with different types of explanatory variables by means of generalized linear mixed models. The presence of mistletoes in stands of Pinus halepensis seems to be determined by multiple factors (climatic conditions, and characteristics of the host tree and landscape structure) operating at different spatial scales, with the availability of orchards of Olea europaea in the surroundings playing a relevant role. These results suggest that host quality and landscape structure are important mediators of plant-plant and plant-animal interactions and, therefore, management of mistletoe populations should be conducted at both local (i.e. clearing of infected host trees) and landscape scales (e.g. controlling the availability of nutrient-rich food sources that attract bird dispersers). Research and management at landscape-scales are necessary to anticipate the negative consequence of land-use changes in Mediterranean forests.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2012212-02155

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