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Effective Seed Dispersal Across a Fragmented Landscape
- Bacles, Cecile F. E., Lowe, Andrew J., Ennos, Richard A.
- Science 2006 v.311 no.5761 pp. 628
- Fraxinus excelsior, forest trees, seed dispersal, habitat fragmentation, forest habitats, spatial distribution, woodlands, seedlings, Scotland
- The role of seed dispersal in maintaining genetic connectivity among forest fragments has largely been ignored because gene flow by pollen is expected to predominate. By using genealogical reconstruction, we investigated gene flow after establishment of seeds in a wind-pollinated, wind-dispersed tree. Our data show that seed dispersal is the main vector of gene flow among remnants and that long-distance dispersal is common across a chronically fragmented landscape. The relative importance of seed-mediated gene flow may have been underemphasized in other fragmented systems, and diagnosing the response of forest trees to current anthropogenic disturbances requires the assessment of phenomena after establishment.