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Species Richness and Species Turnover in a Successional Heathland

Milan Chytrý, Iva Sedláková and Lubomír Tichý
Applied Vegetation Science
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jun., 2001), pp. 89-96
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1479040
Page Count: 8
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Species Richness and Species Turnover in a Successional Heathland
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Abstract

Changes in species richness and species turnover during secondary succession following experimental disturbance were studied in eight permanent plots in a species-rich dry heathland in the southern part of the Czech Republic. The treatments applied were sod-cutting, burning, cutting of above-ground biomass, and control. The plots were sampled annually between 1992 and 2000; species richness was analysed at three scales, 25 cm × 25 cm, 1 m × 1 m, and 3 m × 3 m. Disturbances resulted in increased species richness. The highest vascular plant richness was attained during the secondary succession after sod-cutting, where species established on exposed bare ground. Less severe disturbances by burning and cutting also caused a slight increase in the number of vascular plant species. For bryophytes and lichens, the highest increase in the number of species was also found in the sod-cut plots, where all cryptogams were removed by the disturbance. At the scale of 3 m × 3 m, species richness of both vascular plants and cryptogams peaked in 1995-1996, i.e. 3-4 yrs after the disturbance, and slowly decreased or slightly fluctuated without any trend thereafter. At smaller scales it either peaked later or constantly increased over the entire observation period of 9 yrs. Species mobility, expressed as species accumulation over time, was lower than reported from grasslands. Rates of species turnover, calculated as Jaccard dissimilarity between pairs of consecutive years, corresponded across different scales. This implies that successional dry heathlands have a higher small-scale mobility than heathlands which are apparently stable at larger scale.

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