Biology: mast and masting, part II

Self-tutoring about mast and masting: the tutor revisits it.

Back in my post from Aug 26, 2016, I mention mast and masting: mast being fruit produced by forest trees, and masting being their rhythmic production of it.

A concept of masting is that trees don’t produce huge crops of seeds every year. Rather, they produce large crops some years, but thin crops others. Their variable masting is intentional, to control the population of seed-eaters. Therefore, when mast is richly produced, there aren’t enough consumers to eat it all, so many of the seeds can grow.

In my reading about the red crossbill (see my previous post), I encountered the masting idea again, regarding Douglas firs. Apparently the red crossbill is aware that masting is timed differently from place to place: a scant crop in one location may correspond with a rich one elsewhere. Red crossbills are known to follow the mast, nesting where it’s rich.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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