The bigger the tree the better the seed – effect of Sessile oak tree diameter on acorn size, insect predation, and germination

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Jovan Dobrosavljevic
Jovana Devetaković
Branko Kanjevac

Abstract

Sessile oak is one of the ecologically and economically most important tree species in Europe. Recently, the importance of this species has been particularly highlighted in the context of climate change, where it is expected that these species will play a significant role within their natural range and beyond. To regenerate and expand the range of the sessile oak forests, a large amount of healthy acorns is needed. The acorn production and the acorns themselves are endangered by a large number of abiotic and biotic factors. As oak trees of different sizes do not produce the same amount of seed of the same quality, we investigated how the sessile oak tree diameter affects the acorn size, insect infestation, and germination rate. On the other side, as the acorn size influences the attack rates of the most significant acorn pest – Curculio glandium (Marsham, 1802), and the germination rates of both the damaged and healthy acorns we also investigated how the acorn dimensions influence the insect damage and germination rates, and how the insect damage influences the germination rates. We determined that the oak tree size influences some oak seed characteristics that are important for forest regeneration, while it does not affect others. A greater acorn yield was recorded on the bigger oak trees. The tree dimensions also had a significant influence on the acorn size. Greater average length, as well as greater average acorn diameter, were recorded on bigger trees. Although the tree size affects the acorn size, it does not influence the acorn insect predation rates or its germination rates. These parameters are affected by the acorn size itself. Bigger acorns had a greater germination rate. Insects preferred smaller acorns and had a significantly negative influence on the germination rate.

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How to Cite
Dobrosavljevic, Jovan, Jovana Devetaković, and Branko Kanjevac. “The Bigger the Tree the Better the Seed – Effect of Sessile Oak Tree Diameter on Acorn Size, Insect Predation, and Germination”. REFORESTA, no. 14 (December 29, 2022): 36-45. Accessed February 4, 2023. https://journal.reforestationchallenges.org/index.php/REFOR/article/view/167.
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