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Natural Re-Seeding and Trifolium repens Demography in Grazed Hill Pastures. II. Seedling Appearance and Survival
D. F. Chapman
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 24, No. 3 (Dec., 1987), pp. 1037-1043
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2403999
Page Count: 7
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(1) The appearance and survival of Trifolium repens seedlings from naturally deposited seed were monitored for 3 years under different sheep grazing managements and phosphate fertilizer inputs, and in four slope/aspect zones, in summer moist New Zealand hill country. (2) A mean of 5.5 seedlings m-2 per year appeared, representing 4.2% of the seeds deposited each summer. (3) Only 4.4% of seedlings survived to form established, stolon-bearing plants, representing a mean recruitment rate of one seedling per 5.5 m2 per year. Survival was highest on steep north-west sites (10%), and nil on flat south-west sites, reflecting likely competitive stresses from surrounding vegetation. (4) Such low recruitment rates clearly indicate seedling regeneration plays only a minor role in T repens persistence in this environment. Vegetative stolon densities of 3000-4000 m-2 and high rates of stolon initiation and death confirm that the species behaves essentially as a true perennial. (5) A useful ecological role for low seedling recruitment rates in maintaining genetic diversity within the T repens population must be recognized, however, especially in highly variable environments.
Journal of Applied Ecology © 1987 British Ecological Society