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Endozoochorous seed dispersal by cattle and horse in a spatially heterogeneous landscape
Cosyns, E.; Claerbout, S.; Lamoot, I.; Hoffmann, M. (2005). Endozoochorous seed dispersal by cattle and horse in a spatially heterogeneous landscape. Plant Ecology 178(2): 149-162
In: Plant Ecology. Springer: London; Dordrecht; Boston. ISSN 1385-0237; e-ISSN 1573-5052, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 235320 [ OMA ]

    Physiographic features > Landforms > Physiographic features > Dunes
    Topographic features > Beach features > Dunes

Authors  Top 
  • Cosyns, E., more
  • Claerbout, S.
  • Lamoot, I., more
  • Hoffmann, M., more

    Seed dispersal has become an important issue in plant ecology and restoration management. In this paper we examined dung germinating seed content and seed deposition patterns of horses (Shetland and Konik breeds) and Scottish Highland cattle grazing two coastal dune nature reserves. Two times 2.5 l of fresh dung from each type of herbivore were collected during seven sessions in the main fruiting season. Dung samples were placed under greenhouse conditions after drying and cooling. Animal defecation patterns were derived from a study of herbivore activities during 6 h observation sessions 8 times a month. One hundred and seventeen plant species i.e. 27% of all species occurring in the study area, were recorded as seedlings emerging from the dung samples. The most abundantly and frequently recorded plant species were Urtica dioica, Juncus spp. and different species of Poaceae and Caryophyllaceae. In general seedling density is high (1158 seedlings/dung sample). Seedling density and species richness were further analysed in order to detect temporal variability and possible animal and site related characteristics. Dung deposition patterns reflect a non-random use of habitats and hence a non-random seed deposition among habitats. Calculated seed deposition per square meter ranged from a few (<10 germinating seeds) to more than 100 in the most frequently selected habitats. From the herbivores’ selective habitat use and their estimated mean retention time we can further assume their ability for inter-habitat endozoochorous seed dispersal. This characteristic of large herbivores is further discussed in the light of nature management and restoration.

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