Designing acorn protection for direct seeding of quercus species in high predation areas

José A. Reque, Eduardo Martin

Abstract


Aim of the study: a) To present the trial-and-error approach followed in the design and patent of a manufactured seed and seedling protector effective against mice and voles, rabbits, wild boar and deer (http://bopiweb.com/elemento/829172/). b) To assess the viability of direct oak seeding with and without protection in the complex acorn predation reality of post fire restoration and underplanting in existing pine afforestations.

Study area: Northern Plateau of Spain, in an area of extreme acorn predation.

Material and methods: We followed a classical trial-and-error approach for problem solving. Different modifications to a wire mesh screen cylinder were tested in subsequent trials aiming to evaluate the effects on acorn predation and early emerging plant survival and growth. The final protector is based on a thin wire mesh cylinder with three innovations: a truncated cone, a circular crown and a sphere compartment. Further we assessed the viability of direct oak seeding with and without protection in the complex acorn predation reality of post fire restoration and underplanting in existing pine afforestations.

Main results: The manufactured seed protector was found to be effective against synergic attacks of mice, rodents, wild boars and herbivores. Survival of protected oak was 77% under canopies and 32% in open light conditions two years after sowing.

Research highlights: Our results confirm the viability of direct oak seeding for woodland restoration if seed predation is controlled.      

Keywords: sowing; underplanting; trial-and-error; seed protector; afforestation; oak.


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References


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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2015241-05632

Webpage: www.inia.es/Forestsystems