Endozoochory by European bison influences the build-up of the soil seed bank in subcontinental coniferous forest

Jaroszewicz, Bogdan
May 2013
European Journal of Forest Research;May2013, Vol. 132 Issue 3, p445
Academic Journal
The faeces of large herbivores include viable seeds of many plant species. With dung decomposition, some seeds migrate into the soil and influence seed bank build-up. However, only a few papers report evidence of this process, and only from grasslands. In forest studies, this subject has so far been neglected. Therefore, I ask in this paper whether seeds present in the dung of European bison migrate to the forest soil seed bank and influence its build-up. I sampled soil from underneath European bison dung pats and from surrounding areas (control samples). Samples were divided into shallow (0-5 cm) and deep (5-10 cm) series. Soil seed bank content was studied in the greenhouse for 2 years. The shallow seed bank under dung pats was characterized by the highest species richness (49 species) and seed density (>2,000 m). Urtica dioica, Juncus effusus and Carex remota showed a demonstrable increase in seed density in the shallow seed bank underneath dung. Three years after dung deposition, seeds of endozoochoric origin influenced the soil seed bank of coniferous forest. U. dioica, J. effusus, C. remota and other species of deciduous forests and grasslands ( Agrostis capillaris, Milium effusum, Polygonum hydropiper, Polygonum mite, Scrophularia nodosa, Stachys sylvatica, Veronica chamaedrys) caused an increase in seed density (by 61 %) and species richness (by 33 %) of the shallow soil seed bank underneath dung in comparison with the control soil seed bank.


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