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1 April 1998 Secondary Dispersal by the Wind of Winged Pine Seeds Across the Ground Surface
Stephen B. Vander Wall, Jamie W. Joyner
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It has been assumed that secondary dispersal of winged pine seeds across the ground occurs, but the process has been little studied. We monitored the fates of 287 inedible pine seeds that differed in size (lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta, mean fresh seed mass with wing 9 ± 2 mg; ponderosa pine, P. ponderosa, 62 ± 11 mg; and Jeffrey pine, P. jeffreyi, 185 ± 23 mg) to determine the effects of wind and gravity on secondary dispersal across the ground. Animals largely ignored the seeds. Most seeds moved <1 m during the 37-day observation period. Only seven seeds were known to have moved >1 m. Nineteen seeds disappeared, but rodents and birds probably took many of these. Seeds placed on mineral soil moved significantly farther than those placed on pine needle litter, and, on needle litter, large seeds moved significantly farther than small seeds. Except during an initial windy period, most seeds moved <5 cm/day. Most seeds became immobile after about 8 days because they became entrapped in plant litter. By the end of the study, only two lodgepole pine seeds had become completely buried in soil. Wind and gravity appear to be relatively ineffective at moving pine seeds long distances across the ground surface. For large pine seeds (e.g., those of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine), rodents and birds serve as an alternative means of secondary dispersal by scatter hoarding seeds in soil, whereas small pine seeds (e.g., those of lodgepole pine) are more likely to be overlooked by foragers as they are gradually buried in plant litter and soil.

Stephen B. Vander Wall and Jamie W. Joyner "Secondary Dispersal by the Wind of Winged Pine Seeds Across the Ground Surface," The American Midland Naturalist 139(2), 365-373, (1 April 1998).[0365:SDBTWO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 16 April 1997; Accepted: 1 July 1997; Published: 1 April 1998

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