### The impacts of Korean pine cone production and availability on hoarding behaviors of squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and chipmunks (Eutamias sibiricus)

GAO Hongmei, MEI Suonancuo, RONG Ke, MA Jianzhang, ZONG Chen

1. College of Wildlife Resources, Northeast Forestry University
• Online:2017-04-20 Published:2017-04-20

### 红松结实量与松果可利用量对松鼠和花鼠贮食行为的影响

1. 东北林业大学野生动物资源学院

Abstract: Plants increase the efficiency of seed dispersal by hoarding animals by producing large seed amounts at intervals of several years, however artificially picking seeds decreased the food availability and had impacts on hoarding behaviors and population dynamics of animals. To probe the impacts of cone-picking on cone availability and hoarding behavior of the main animals in Korean pine forest, based on the cone production and picking amount of Heilongjiang Liangshui National Nature Reserve during 2003-2012, we investigated changes of cache size and depth; cache density; the number of squirrels in mast and non-mast years; population sizes of squirrels and chipmunks; and larder-hoarding seed amounts in chipmunk caves in 2010 and 2011. The results showed that: 1) compared with non-mast years, the average cache size, density and number of squirrels were significantly larger in mast years; 2) cone availability was lower in some mast years because the picking proportion was higher than non-mast years; 3) cone production of Korean pine in 2011 was highest, but hoarding density of squirrels was lower than another two mast years, 2003 and 2008, and the encounter rate was lowest; 4) however the population density and pine seed amount in chipmunk caves was not significantly different between 2010 and 2011. Our research indicated that the increase of picking proportion decreased cone availability and had obvious impacts on the hoarding behavior of squirrels. Nature Reserves should wisely determine the picking amount of Korean pine cone, especially in mast years, to ensure the food abundance of hoarding animals and maintain the health of Korean pine ecosystem.