Effects of leaf litter and precipitation on germination and seedling survival of the tree Beilschmiedia miersii

P. I. Becerra, J. L. Celis-Diez, R. O. Bustamante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Question: What effects do leaf litter and rainfall regime have on seed germination (time and probability) and seedling survival of the endangered tree species Beilschmiedia miersii (Lauraceae)? Location: The species is a native tree from the mediterranean climate region of Chile. Seeds were collected from La Campana National Park (Chile). The study was carried out under controlled conditions at the Laboratory of Ecology, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile. Methods: During April 2001, 200 seeds were assigned to four experimental treatments: high precipitation, with and without litter and low precipitation, with and without litter. Each treatment had 50 individual seeds, each seed in an individual pot. For statistical purposes, we considered each seed as one replicate. High and low values of artificial rainfall corresponded to mean dry and wet years, respectively, for the period 1958-1993 in the central zone of Chile. !Results: Seeds germinated earlier, and in higher proportion, in the presence of leaf litter, but only under low rainfall. Seedling survival was insensitive to both litter and precipitation. Conclusions: We conclude that the presence of litter in native populations facilitates seed germination and recruitment of B. miersii, particularly during dry years. We suggest that the reduction of leaf litter due to extraction for gardens and horticultural activities might preclude regeneration of this endangered species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Vegetation Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Chile
  • Facilitation
  • Mediterranean ecosystem
  • Plant recruitment
  • Plant regeneration
  • Threatened species


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