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One Acorn, Two Acorns, Three Acorns, Four…

By lying on your back under an oak tree, you can look up and estimate its number of acorns. But why? “A lot of state wildlife agencies do acorn surveys annually because hunters want to know crop sizes, which fluctuate like crazy from year to year, among different oak species, and among locations,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Katie Greenberg. “Big acorn crops can help to increase reproduction and survival of deer, grouse, turkeys, and other game species that eat acorns. In fact, acorns are considered a keystone species because mice and squirrels also benefit from big acorn crops, and so do other animals – like hawks, foxes, and bobcats – that in turn eat them. Foresters are also interested, since acorns are the seeds for future baby oak trees.”

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