Protective device against seed predators
The seed shelter consists of a capsule made of two truncated conical pieces with a large diameter of ca. 5 cm and a smaller diameter of ca. 1 cm. The cones are filled with soil plus an acorn, and then interlocked bottom-to-bottom to form a ca. 10 cm high capsule (Fig. 1). The capsule is then buried vertically with its upper opening at 1 cm below ground. The rationale is that while the openings at the upper and lower ends are too narrow for a small mammal to penetrate, they are large enough to allow the shoot and root to exit.
The device also allows other configurations, such as quadrangular pyramids or any other geometrical shape. The material used is biodegradable, and in any case the capsule may be manufactured with sutures, micro perforations or other elements that help its destruction with the pressure of the growing root and shoots. The seed shelter has proven 100% effective against small rodents (Castro, Leverkus & Fuster, 2015), and has not shown to affect the growth of the seedlings (Fig. 2).
The inventors are currently carrying out more field trials to test the device’s efficacy against predators and to study seedling development.
This product has potential applications in all countries where reforestations are undertaken. The researchers are seeking to present the invention to public administrations and private companies dealing with environmental management and ecological restoration, non-profit organisations, etc. to continue the development of the product.
Castro, J., Leverkus, A.B., Fuster, F., 2015. A new device to foster oak forest restoration via seed sowing. New Forests. DOI 10.100. doi:10.1007/s11056-015-9478-4