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Ecología austral

On-line version ISSN 1667-782X


TADEY, Mariana. Livestock effect on pollination levels in native plant species of the Patagonian Monte desert. Ecol. austral [online]. 2008, vol.18, n.1, pp.89-100. ISSN 1667-782X.

Livestock may indirectly affect plant pollination levels through changes in both plants and pollinators' assemblages. I studied the effect of livestock on the pollination level, estimated as the number of pollen tubes/style, on five frequent species of the Patagonian Monte desert (Atriplex lampa, Gutierrezia solbrigii, Larrea cuneifolia, L. divaricata, Monttea aphylla). In seven paddocks that share similar habitat characteristics but with different stocking rates, I counted pollen tubes per style of each species studied during four consecutive years. In general, pollination levels are affected more by variation between years than by stocking rates. Only two of the five focal species showed changes in their pollination levels (e.g., pollen tubes/style) associated with changes in stocking rates. Likewise, livestock did not affect the frequency of pollinator visits but affected cover of two of the studied species. The changes in cover (caused or not by livestock) affected directly and indirectly (e.g., through modification in pollinator visits frequency) pollination levels. Results from the regressions and path analyses were consistent in relation to which species were more affected by livestock (e.g., Gutierrezia solbrigii y Monttea aphylla). Additional information about pollen quality and nutritional plant resources would be necessary to better understand livestock indirect effects on pollination level.

Keywords : Indirect effects; Plant-pollinators interaction; Pollen tubes; Stocking densities.

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