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Effects of Herbivory and Herb Interference on Oak Establishment in a Semi-Arid Temperate Savanna

Guy R. McPherson
Journal of Vegetation Science
Vol. 4, No. 5 (Sep., 1993), pp. 687-692
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3236134
Page Count: 6
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Effects of Herbivory and Herb Interference on Oak Establishment in a Semi-Arid Temperate Savanna
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Abstract

Early establishment of Quercus emoryi seedlings in the grassland phase of a semi-arid temperate savanna was evaluated in southern Arizona, USA. Controlled-environment experiments indicated that Quercus seedlings are tolerant of frequent clipping, but unclipped seedlings produce more biomass than clipped seedlings. Seedlings were much less tolerant of clipping or defoliation in the field than in the growth chamber, and most seedlings died after being clipped or defoliated by herbivores. Invertebrate herbivory, which is rarely mentioned as an important factor limiting seedling establishment, was the leading cause of seedling mortality in the field study. Below-ground interference from herbs had a greater impact on seedling survival and growth than above-ground interference.

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