One of the characteristics of holm-oak acorn production is its high variability among individuals and years. To examine the main causes of this fact, a study was conducted from 1998-2010 in a natural area of holm-oak in southern Spain, where floral phenology, fruit production, fruit size, airborne pollen emission and meteorology factors were analyzed with the ultimate aim of developing a model for forecasting holm-oak yield. Pollen emission during flowering season was the main factor determining the final acorn harvest, but also some meteorological variables played an important role in explaining acorn crop variations, especially humidity and temperature during the months of April and September. The reliability of the proposed model was externally validated using data not included in its construction; validation yielded acceptable results, with a minimum error of estimation. Our results appear to be very useful for planning cropping and pig feeding strategies. Further research could extend the use of airborne pollen counts in forest studies relating to anemophilous species, in order to optimize agricultural policies.
PMID 23020030 - click here to show this article in PubMed