Skip to Main Content
Fire and mice: Seed predation moderates fire's influence on conifer recruitmentAuthor(s): Rafal Zwolak; Dean E. Pearson; Yvette K. Ortega; Elizabeth E. Crone
Source: Ecology. 91(4): 1124-1131.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: Download Publication (256.11 KB)
DescriptionIn fire-adapted ecosystems, fire is presumed to be the dominant ecological force, and little is known about how consumer interactions influence forest regeneration. Here, we investigated seed predation by deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and its effects on recruitment of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) seedlings in unburned and recently burned fire-adapted montane forests in west-central Montana, USA. Deer mice were almost twice as abundant in burned than unburned stands. Deer mouse removal of seeds from petri dishes was two times higher in burned than in unburned stands, and seed removal levels were 8% higher for ponderosa pine than for the smaller Douglas-fir seeds. In seed-addition experiments, emergence of seedlings in deer mouse-exclusion cages was almost six times higher in burned compared to unburned forest. In both burned and unburned forest, emergence was lower for ponderosa pine than for Douglas-fir. Seedling survival to establishment did not differ between conifer species but was considerably higher in burned than in unburned forest. However, effects of seed predation on recruitment prevailed over fire effects: in cages allowing access by deer mice, emergence and establishment were extremely rare for both conifer species in both burned and unburned forest. This research suggests that consumer interactions can substantially influence recruitment even in fireadapted forest ecosystems.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationZwolak, Rafal; Pearson, Dean E.; Ortega, Yvette K.; Crone, Elizabeth E. 2010. Fire and mice: Seed predation moderates fire's influence on conifer recruitment. Ecology. 91(4): 1124-1131.
Keywordsdeer mouse, disturbance, Douglas-fir, Peromyscus maniculatus, Pinus ponderosa, ponderosa pine, Pseudotsuga menziesii, seedling establishment, seed predation, wildfire
- Prey ecology of Mexican spotted owls in pine-oak forests of northern Arizona
- Effects of wildfire severity on small mammals in northern Arizona ponderosa pine forests
- Deer mouse predation on the biological control agent, Urophora spp., introduced to control spotted knapweed
XML: View XML