Testing the environmental prediction hypothesis for mast-seeding in California oaks

Walter D. Koenig, Johannes M.H. Knops, William J. Carmen

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10 Citations (Scopus)


We analyzed 29 years of acorn production by five species of California oaks (genus Quercus) to test the hypothesis that trees produce large seed crops prior to wet years, conditions facilitating seedling germination and survival. The mean crop of three of the species correlated positively and nontrivially with the following year's rainfall, but none was statistically significant. Including the acorn crop 1 and 2 years earlier yielded several significant relationships between the acorn crop and future rainfall, but none held up when applied to a second, independent site. Across individuals, acorn production by 7% of trees correlated significantly with subsequent rainfall. Although these trees differed from other trees in several characters, differences were not sufficient to discriminate between trees that correlated significantly with subsequent rainfall from those that did not. We conclude that acorn production by California oaks does not forecast wet years and does not support the environmental prediction hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2115-2122
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

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