Soil-Seed Bank Survival in Forests of the Southern United States

Authors: Meadows, James; Bonner, Frank; Haywood, James

Source: New Forests, Volume 32, Number 3, November 2006 , pp. 335-345(11)

Publisher: Springer

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We evaluated the longevity of seeds of 12 common woody species buried in fresh condition in the forest floor at three forest locations in Mississippi and Louisiana. Seed samples of each species were retrieved annually for 5 years from each location. Germination and tetrazolium chloride staining tests were conducted on the samples to determine germinative capacity. When averaged across all species, seeds remained viable longer at the Alexandria, Louisiana site than at the two sites in Mississippi. Seeds of the 12 species varied widely in their response to burial. Some species, such as American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana L.), muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.), and sugarberry (Celtis laevigata Willd.), had relatively high germinative capacities (from 33 to 60 percent, depending on species) even after burial in the forest floor for 5 years, whereas other species, such as flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.) and yaupon (Ilex vomitoria Ait.), had very low germinative capacities (less than 6 percent) by the end of the first year after burial. Species were classified into five groups based on their similarity of response.

Keywords: Buried seed; Germinative capacity; Seed viability; Southern hardwoods; Woody shrubs

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: November 1, 2006

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