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Acorns and mast years

I read an article on this phenomenon of very poor acorn (or other seed)
production in some years and massive production in others. Apparently it
has been well known empirically for a long time. Heavy production years
are called "mast years" (mast being a term for acorns and other such

The article I read suggested it was a naturally selected
"strategy" for ensuring that at least in some years, so much seed would be
produced that predators could hardly get it all. The question for the
author(s) was what was the signal that coordinated heavy production in an
area? Was it simply favorable growing conditions the previous year, or
was there some communication, presumably chemical, involved?

I'm sorry that I don't recall which publication I saw this in; we get so


-- Steve Marak
-- samarak@arachne.uark.edu

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