Post-dispersal seed predation of woody forest species limits recolonization of forest plantations on ex-arable land

plants. However, the herbaceous plant layer of these plantations contains fewer forest species than comparable plantations at continuously forested sites. One of the reasons for this might be differences in recruitment. The present study addresses post-dispersal seed predation, mainly of woody plants, as the factor limiting the recolonization of young oak plantations in southern Sweden. Our objectives were to investigate differences in dispersal and post-dispersal seed predation between first-generation forest plantations on ex-arable land and re-planted clear-cuts on continuously forested land. Therewas no recruitment following the experimental sowing of six commonwoody species (Alnus glutinosa, Betula pendula, Frangula alnus, Sambucus nigra, Sorbus aucuparia and Sorbus intermedia). Thus, the colonization of forest plantations by native shrubs and trees appears to be habitat-limited; the only exception being Rhamnus catharticus, for which poor dispersal ability may be more important. Post-dispersal seed predation of forest shrubs and trees was marked, especially in relatively small and isolated plantations on ex-arable land. There was a high seed predation of Crataegus monogyna, Sorbus aucuparia and Viburnum opulus on ex-arable land, while that of Frangula alnus and Sambucus racemosa was not associated with site placement and landuse history. Seed predation is probably a more important factor limiting restoration of near-natural forests than previously thought.