Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2021, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (2): 154-162.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2020.0079

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Seed predation and dispersal pattern of Fagaceae species in a fragmented landscape, eastern China

ZHONG Yu-Chen1, WANG Bin2, FANG Zhong-Ping2, XU Xiao-Zhong2, YU Ming-Jian1,*()   

  1. 1College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
    2Xin'anjiang Ecological Development Corporation, Chun'an, Zhejiang 311700, China
  • Received:2020-03-20 Accepted:2020-06-17 Online:2021-02-20 Published:2020-06-23
  • Contact: YU Ming-Jian
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31930073);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31870401);National Key R&D Program of China(2018YFE0112800)


Aims Due to the area effect and edge effect, habitat fragmentation can alter competition intensity, foraging behavior and shelter condition of scatter-hoarders, and consequently affect seed predation and dispersal patterns. Though there have been some studies focusing on seed dispersal in fragmented landscapes, few studies have compared the effects of habitat fragmentation on seed predation and dispersal among multiple species.
Methods To explore how species identity, abundance of scatter-hoarders, seed production, island size and edge effect work together to influence seed fates and dispersal distance, we conducted seed predation and dispersal experiments for six Fagaceae species in the island and mainland forests of the Thousand Island Lake region in Zhejiang Province, eastern China.
Important findings (1) There were significant differences in seed fates and dispersal distance among six Fagaceae species. (2) Seeds were removed faster on the islands than on the mainland, and even faster on smaller islands than on larger islands. Further, seeds were removed faster at the island edges than in the interiors. (3) There was a significant interactive effect between island size and species identity on the probability of seeds eaten in situ. More seeds of Quercus fabri were eaten in situ on larger islands. (4) Seeds had the highest probability of removal on small islands; the relative abundance of scatter-hoarders had a negative effect on the probability of seeds cached. These findings implied that habitat fragmentation altered seed predation and dispersal patterns, and that area effect posed species-specific effects on seed predation and dispersal patterns, which would contribute to forest regeneration and biodiversity maintenance.

Key words: habitat fragmentation, scatter-hoarder, seed fate, dispersal distance