Agricultural ecosystems host a large variety of organisms that can contribute to weed control through seed consumption. However, seed consumption rates in the agroecosystems of southern Chile are virtually unknown. We experimentally evaluate oat seed consumption by birds, rodents and invertebrates, in hedgerows dominated by trees, shrubs and grasses. Seed biomass consumed was not affected by the dominant vegetation present in the hedgerows, but did vary according to the seed consuming animal group. The principal seed consumers were rodents, followed by invertebrates and birds, the latter only appearing to be significant in shrub-dominated habitats. In addition, we observed the exotic slug Deroceras reticulatum consuming seeds in 62% of the experimental stations. Additional studies addressing the spatial-temporal dynamics of interactions between granivores and weed seeds are required to confirm the potential controlling and regulating function of rodents on weeds in the agricultural ecosystems of southern Chile.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Alberto G. Gantz, Carlos E. Valdivia