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Influence of Birds, Stones and Soil on the Establishment of Pasture Juniper, Juniperus Communis, and Red Cedar, J. Virginiana in New England Pastures

Robert B. Livingston
Ecology
Vol. 53, No. 6 (Nov., 1972), pp. 1141-1147
Published by: Wiley
DOI: 10.2307/1935427
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1935427
Page Count: 7
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Influence of Birds, Stones and Soil on the Establishment of Pasture Juniper, Juniperus Communis, and Red Cedar, J. Virginiana in New England Pastures
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Abstract

In New England the pasture juniper, Juniperus communis var. depressa Pursh, usually occurs in pastures adjacent to stones, whereas the red cedar, J. virginiana var. crebra Fern. & Grisc., occurs either at stoneside or in interstonal areas. In non-stony pastures red cedar is often dominant and pasture juniper absent. Accordingly, attempts were made to determine the effects of the stoneside position. During their fall migrational flights, robins, Turdus migratorius Linnaeus, feed heavily on the berries of both pasture juniper and red cedar, and are effective disseminators of the seed. During feeding periods the robins come to rest on exposed field stones and the seed in their droppings becomes concentrated on the stones. The seeds are subsequently washed and planted into frost-heave cracks adjacent to the stones. The burial of pasture juniper seed assures their retention in a moist condition during the long, double stratification period required for their germination. Red cedar seed requires only a single cold stratification period, however, and this may be encountered even when seeds are planted on soil surfaces. Seedlings developing in the stoneside frost-heave crack are protected from trampling or grazing, and they receive extra moisture from their stone micro-watershed. Yet, all items in the system are not favorable. Seedling junipers make their best growth in compacted soils, like those away from stoneside, and although birds are effective disseminators of their seed, the passage of seed through the birds gut inhibits germination. Nevertheless the fortuitous planting of seed on exposed stones introduces pasture juniper and red cedar to a micro-habitat that more compensates for reduced germination and slower growth. _pg 1141-1147

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