iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Richness and abundance of granivorous vertebrates determine acorn removal patterns in a human modified oak forest

Felipe Barragán (1)   , Ernesto I Badano (2), David Douterlungne (1), Joel Flores (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 11, Issue 2, Pages 329-337 (2018)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor2216-011
Published: Apr 18, 2018 - Copyright © 2018 SISEF

Research Articles

Most forests of the Earth have been affected by human activities and this can alter the plant-animal interactions on which depend the functional integrity of these ecosystems. In this study, we assessed the relationships between acorn removal rates and the richness and abundance of granivorous vertebrates along a forest-edge-clearing gradient. We also evaluated whether removal rates differed among oak species with different acorn size. To this purpose, a field experiment was performed including acorns of five oak species, which were exposed to seed consumers in the three different habitats (forest interior, man-made clearings and the edge between these habitats). The experimental units consisted in five paper trays containing 50 acorns of each oak species located at different distances from the edge towards the forest and the man-made clearing (0, 20 and 50 m). Experimental sites were equipped with phototraps to record the identity of the visiting granivorous vertebrates. Richness and abundance of granivores increased from the edge towards the forest interior, while the converse patterns were observed in the man-made clearing. For most oak species, acorn removal patterns was positively correlated with richness and abundances of granivores, though in all habitats small-sized acorns were removed much faster and in larger proportions than big-sized acorns. Although these results are specific for the study site, they suggest that man-made clearings reduce the richness and abundance of granivores, thus negatively affecting the secondary dispersion of zoochoric tree species towards open habitats. Further, it also seems that large-seeded oak species face greater dispersal limitations than small-seeded oaks, because of the lack of animals able to scatter them from the forest to the clearings.


Acorn Size, Forest Gaps, Land Use Change, Man-made Clearing, Species Diversity

Authors’ address

Felipe Barragán
David Douterlungne
CONACYT-IPICYT, División de Ciencias Ambientales, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Camino a la Presa San José 2055, Lomas 4ª Sección, C.P. 78216, San Luis Potosí, SLP (México)
Ernesto I Badano
Joel Flores
IPICYT-División de Ciencias Ambientales, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Camino a la Presa San José 2055, Lomas 4ª Sección, C.P. 78216, San Luis Potosí, SLP (México)

Corresponding author



Barragán F, Badano EI, Douterlungne D, Flores J (2018). Richness and abundance of granivorous vertebrates determine acorn removal patterns in a human modified oak forest. iForest 11: 329-337. - doi: 10.3832/ifor2216-011

Academic Editor

Gianfranco Minotta

Paper history

Received: Sep 05, 2016
Accepted: Jan 21, 2018

First online: Apr 18, 2018
Publication Date: Apr 30, 2018
Publication Time: 2.90 months

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