Document Type : Original Article


1 M.Sc. Department of Range and Watershed Mangement,Faculty of Natural Resource and Earth Science,Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Assistant professor,Department of Range and Watershed Mangement,Faculty of Natural Resource and Earth Science,Shahrekord University, Po. Box 115, Shahrekord, Iran

3 M.Sc. Agriculture and Natural Resources Research Center, Shahrekord, Iran


During last two decades studies on endozoochorous seed dispersal indicated that a large numbers of plant seeds are potentially dispersed and suceefully germinated via animal dung. However, very little is known about the relative importance of endozoochory in germination success of plant species in semi-steppe rangelands. In this paper we examined dung germinating seed content, seed deposition patterns of different domestic animals (Cattle, Sheep and goat), ecologicalcorrelate with seed traits(Seed weight, length, width and shape) and the possible correlate of  dung seed content characteristics with vegetation in a simulated feeding experiment. 39 native plant species were fed to domestic animals and their germination successes were recorded in a simulated glasshouse experiment.


Archer, S., T.W. Boutton, & K.A. Hibbard, )2001(.Trees in grasslands: biogeochemical consequences of woody plant expansion. In: Global biogeochemical cycles in the climate system (ed. by E.-D. Schulze, M. Heimann, S. Harrison, E. Holland, J. Lloyd, I. Prentice and D. Schimel), pp. 115–138. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
Bakker, E.S., & H. Olff, )2003(. The impact of different-sized herbivores on recruitment opportunities for subordinate herbs in grass lands. Journal of Vegetation Science, 14: 465-474.
Bruun,  H. H., &  B. Fritzbøger, )2002(. The past impact of livestock husbandry on dispersal of plant seeds in the landscape of Denmark. - Ambio 31: 425-431.
Bruun, H. H., & P. Poschlod, )2006(. Why are small seeds dispersed through animal guts: large numbers or seed size per se? OIKOS 113: 402-411.
Cosyns, E., )2004(. Ungulate seed dispersal. Aspects of endozoochory in a seminatural landscape. Ph.D. Thesis, Institute of Nature Conservation, Gent University, Brussels, Belgium.
Cosyns, E., S , Claerbout., I,  Lamoot. & M, Hoffmann, )2005(. Endozoochorous seed dispersal by cattle and horse in a spatially heterogeneous landscape. Plant Ecol. 178:149–162.
Couvreur, M., E. Cosyns & M. Hermy, et al. )2005(. Complementarity of epi- and endozoochory of plant seeds by free ranging donkeys. J. Ecog., 28: 37-48.
Davis, SH., )2007(. Endozoochory subtropical thicket: comparing effects of species eith different digestive systems on seed fate. Thesis for the degree of Magister Scientiae in the Faculty of Science at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Supervisor: Prof. G. I. H. Kerley.
Grime, J., P. J. G. Hodgson & R. Hunt, 1988. Comparative Plant Ecology. Unwin-Hyman, London.
Heinken,  T., H, Hanspach, &   D., Raudnitschka,  (2002). Dispersal of vascular plants by four pecies of wild mammals in a  deciduous forest in NE Germany. - Phytocoenologia 32: 627-643.
Herrera C.M. & P., Jordano, (1981). Prunus mahaleb and birds: the high-efficiency seed dispersal system of a temperate fruiting tree. Ecol. Monogr. 51: 203 –218.
Jaroszewicz, B., E., Piroz˙ nikow, & R., Sagehorn, (2009). Endozoochory by European bison (Bison bonasus) in Białowiez˙ a Primeval Forest across a management gradient. Forest Ecology and Management. 258 (2009) 11–17.
Janzen, D. H., (1984). Dispersal of small seeds by big herbivores: Foliage is the fruit. American Naturalist., 123: 338–353.
Leishman, M., R, (2001). Does the seed size/number tradeoff model determine plant community structure? An assessment of the model mechanisms and their generality. Oikos 93: 294-302.
Lutman,  P. J. W., S . E., Freeman, &  C., Pekrun, (2003). The longterm persistence of seeds of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) in arable .elds. Journal Agriculture. Science. Camb., 141: 231–240.
Malo, J. E., & F. Suarez, (1995b). Herbivorous mammals as seed dispersers in a Mediterranean dehesa. Oecologia 104: 246-255.
Mueller, P.J., P. Protos, K.A. Houpt & P.J. Van Soest, (1998). Chewing behaviour in the domestic donkey [Equus asinus] fed fibrous forage. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 60, 241-251.
Özer,  Z., (1979). Über die Beeinflussung der Keimfähigkeit der Samen mancher Grünlandpflanzen beim Durchgang du rch den Verdauungstrakt des Schafes und nach Mistgärung. Weed Research, 19: 247-254.
Pakeman R. J. Attwood J. P and Engelen J. (1998). Sources of plants colonizing experimentally disturbed patches in an acidic grassland. Journal of Ecology 86: 1032–1041.
Pakeman, R.J., G. Digneffe & J. L. Small, (2002). Ecological correlates of endozoochory by herbivores. Funct. J. of Ecol,. 16: 296–304.
Pywell, R. F., J. M. Bullock, A. Hopkins, K. J. Walker, T. H. Sparks, M. J. W. Burke & S. Peel, (2002). Restoration of species- rich grassland on arable land: assessing the limiting processes using a multi-site experiment. J. Appl. Ecol., 39: 294–309.
Ramos E., Robles B. and Castro J. (2006). Efficiency of endozoochorous seed dispersal in six dry-fruited species (Cistaceae): from seed ingestion to early seedling establishment. Plant Ecol. 185:97 –106.
Shayo, C. M., & P. Udén, (1998). Recovery of seed of four African browse shrubs ingested by cattle, sheep and goats and the effect of ingestion, hot water and acid treatment on the viability of the seeds. Tropical Grasslands, 32: 195-200.
Simao Neto, M., R. M. Jones, & D. Ratcliff, (1987). Recovery of pasture seed ingested by ruminants. Seed of six tropical pasture species fed to cattle, sheep and goats. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 27: 239-246.
Staniforth,  R .J. & P. B. Cavers, (1977). The importance of cottontail rabbits in the dispersal of Polygonum spp. Journal of Applied Ecology 14: 261–267.
Verhagen, R., J. Klooker, J. P. Bakker & R.van Diggelen (2001). Restoration success of low-production plant communities on former agricultural soils after top-soil removal. J. Appl. Vegetat. Sci., 4: 75–82. 
Wallander, R.T., B.E. Olson, & J.R. Lacey, (1995). Spotted knapweed seed viability after passing through sheep and mule deer. Journal of Rangeland Management, 48, 145–149.
Welch, D. (1985). Studies in the grazing of heather moorland in North-East Scotland. IV Seed dispersal and plant establishment in dung. Journal of Applied Ecology, 22: 461-472.