Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Long-term and interactive effects of different mammalian consumers on growth, survival and recruitment of dominant tree species

Citation

Cushman, J. Hall; Dodge, Vanessa; Eviner, Valerie (2021), Data from: Long-term and interactive effects of different mammalian consumers on growth, survival and recruitment of dominant tree species , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.nk98sf7r2

Abstract

Throughout the world, numerous tree species are reported to be in decline, either due to increased mortality of established trees or reduced recruitment. The situation appears especially acute for oaks, which are dominant features of many landscapes in the northern hemisphere. Although numerous factors have been hypothesized to explain reductions in tree performance, vertebrate herbivores and granivores may serve as important drivers of these changes. Here, using data from 8- and 14-year-old exclosure experiments, we evaluated the individual and interactive effects of large and small mammalian herbivores on the performance of three widespread oak species in California – coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), California black oak (Q. kelloggii) and Oregon white oak (Q. garryana). Although impacts varied somewhat by species and experiment, herbivory by black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) reduced the height and survival of juvenile coast live oaks and altered their architecture, as well as reduced the abundance of black oak seedlings, the richness of woody species and the cover of non-oak woody species. Small mammals (Microtus californicus and Peromyscus maniculatus) had even more widespread effects, reducing the abundance of black oak seedlings and the height and cover of all three oak species. We also detected numerous interactions between small mammals and deer, with one herbivore having positive or negative effects on oak abundance and cover when the other herbivore was either present or absent. For example, deer often had negative effects on seedling abundance only when, or even more so when, small mammals were present. In summary, mammalian consumers play crucial roles in limiting oak recruitment by reducing seedling abundance, maintaining trees in stunted states and preventing them from reaching sapling stages and becoming reproductive. Interactions between large and small mammals can also alter the intensity and direction of their effects on trees.

Methods

See publsihed article.