Post-fire forestry management improves fruit weight and seed set in forest coppices dominated by Arbutus unedo L.

Quevedo L., Arnan X., Rodrigo A. (2015) Post-fire forestry management improves fruit weight and seed set in forest coppices dominated by Arbutus unedo L.. Forest Ecology and Management. 345: 65-72.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.02.030

Abstract:

In Mediterranean ecosystems, post-fire forestry management practices are often used to improve forest structure and to reduce the risk of fire in coppices of resprouting species. Such practices enhance tree growth (i.e., height), probably because they release resources. On the one hand, resource release may stimulate reproduction. On the other hand, tree species that are regenerating after a fire may already face a delay in reproduction, and this delay may be lengthened if species mainly invest these additional resources in growth. Within this theoretical framework, it is poorly understood how different forest management practices affect the reproductive abilities of forest species. In this study, we analyzed the effect of two post-fire forestry treatments (selective thinning of resprouts and selective thinning of resprouts plus understory clearing) on a Mediterranean coppice dominated by the resprouter species Arbutus unedo L.; in particular, we examined how the treatments affected this species' reproductive ability (flower and fruit production at the tree and stand level, as well as fruit characteristics). Our results show that the treatments had no effects on the number of flowers and mature fruits per individual. Meanwhile, mature fruit dry mass and seed set were greater in plots that had been both thinned and cleared than in control plots and plots that had only been thinned. This pattern was reversed for seed abortion rate: it was lower in plots that had been thinned and cleared. The dry mass of developed seeds did not differ among treatments. At the stand level, the percentage of strawberry trees that flowered, the percentage of strawberry trees that bore fruit, the dry biomass of mature fruits per hectare, and the number of developed seeds per hectare were not affected by these treatments. Other studies have shown that these two forest management practices can improve the vertical and horizontal structure of A. unedo coppices that are regenerating post fire; this study demonstrates that selective thinning does not modify the species' reproductive success and, such practice when combined with understory clearing might enhance it. Consequently, these forestry practices might ensure the natural regeneration of populations of this species, as well as the availability of food for local fauna. It is thus highly recommended that such practices be used to manage coppices dominated by resprouter species following fire, especially in situations where the growth of the forest canopy has stagnated and/or reproduction of forest species has been delayed. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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Collateral effects of beekeeping: Impacts on pollen-nectar resources and wild bee communities

Torné-Noguera A., Rodrigo A., Osorio S., Bosch J. (2015) Collateral effects of beekeeping: Impacts on pollen-nectar resources and wild bee communities. Basic and Applied Ecology. : 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2015.11.004

Abstract:

Due to the contribution of honey bees (Apis mellifera) to wild flower and crop pollination, beekeeping has traditionally been considered a sustainable practice. However, high honey bee densities may have an impact on local pollen and nectar availability, which in turn may negatively affect other pollinators. This is exacerbated by the ability of honey bees to recruit foragers to highly rewarding flower patches. We measured floral resource consumption in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) in 21 plots located at different distances from apiaries in the scrubland of Garraf Natural Park (Barcelona), and related these measures to visitation rates of honey bees, bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and other pollinators. In the same plots, we measured flower density, and used pan traps to characterize the wild bee community. Flower resource consumption was largely explained by honey bee visitation and marginally by bumblebee visitation. After accounting for flower density, plots close to apiaries had lower wild bee biomass. This was due to a lower abundance of large bee species, those more likely to be affected by honey bee competition. We conclude that honey bees are the main contributors to pollen/nectar consumption of the two main flowering plants in the scrubland, and that at the densities currently occurring in the park (3.5hives/km2) the wild bee community is being affected. Our study supports the hypothesis that high honey bee densities may have an impact on other pollinators via competition for flower resources. Wegen des Beitrages der Honigbiene (Apis mellifera) bei der Bestäubung von Wildblumen und Nutzpflanzen wurde die Bienenhaltung traditionell als eine nachhaltige Aktivität angesehen. Indessen können hohe Honigbienendichten Auswirkungen auf die lokale Verfügbarkeit von Nektar und Pollen haben, was wiederum andere Bestäuber negativ beeinflussen könnte. Dies wird verstärkt durch die Fähigkeit der Honigbiene, Sammlerinnen zu lohnenden Sammelstellen zu dirigieren. Im Buschland des Garraf-Naturparks bei Barcelona maßen wir den Verbrauch von Blütenressourcen an Rosmarin (Rosmarinus officinalis) und Thymian (Thymus vulgaris) an 21 Standorten, die unterschiedlich weit von Bienenständen entfernt lagen, und setzten diese Werte in Bezug zu den Besuchsraten von Honigbienen, Hummeln (Bombus terrestris) und sonstigen Bestäubern. An den gleichen Standorten bestimmten wir die Blütendichte und setzten Farbschalen ein, um die Wildbienengemeinschaft zu erfassen. Die Nutzung der Blüt enressou wurde weitgehend durch die Besuchsraten der Honigbiene erklärt und in geringfügigem Maße durch Hummelbesuch. Nach Berücksichtigung der Blütendichte wiesen Standorte in der Nähe von Bienenständen eine geringere Wildbienen-Biomasse auf. Dies war auf eine geringere Abundanz der großen Wildbienenarten zurückzuführen, also der Arten, die wahrscheinlich durch die Konkurrenz der Honigbiene beeinträchtigt werden. Wir schließen, dass Honigbienen den größten Beitrag zum Pollen- bzw. Nektarverbrauch bei den beiden wichtigsten Blütenpflanzen des Gebietes leisten und dass die Wildbienengemeinschaft bei den gegenwärtigen Honigbienendichten im Park (3.5 Völker/km2) beeinflusst wird. Unsere Untersuchung unterstützt die Hypothese, dass hohe Honigbienendichten durch Konkurrenz um Blütenressourcen einen Einfluss auf andere Bestäuber haben könnten. © 2015 Gesellschaft für Ökologie.

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