Wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis) in the Oak Openings Region of Northwest Ohio is an important nitrogen fixer and serves as an essential food source for the federally endangered Karner Blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). In order to examine potential factors that might be affecting mice predation on wild blue lupine seeds in oak savannas, we used seed trays placed in the open or on the forested edge to estimate seed predation rate. We recorded management histories, performed vegetation surveys, and used GIS to find spatial variables related to prescribed burning and edge to assess how they affect seed predation. Our major findings were that seed removal by mice for the summer averaged across sites was 22%, seed removal varied significantly across time (P < 0.05), and was more likely in areas with increased crypto-biotic crust (P < 0.0001). Seed predation rates increased under more prescribed burns over the last 10 y (P = 0.034) and 19 years (P = 0.0001). This leads us to support current management practices of a rotation of prescribed burning in open to partially closed canopy areas to create a balance between promoting lupine growth and minimal seed predation.
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Vol. 168 • No. 1