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Plant Species Richness in Calcareous Grasslands as Affected by Dispersability in Space and Time

P. Poschlod, S. Kiefer, U. Tränkle, S. Fischer and S. Bonn
Applied Vegetation Science
Vol. 1, No. 1 (May, 1998), pp. 75-90
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1479087
Page Count: 16
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Plant Species Richness in Calcareous Grasslands as Affected by Dispersability in Space and Time
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Abstract

Species richness in calcareous grassland is discussed against the background of historical dispersal processes associated with traditional land-use management such as grazing, but also the artificial establishment by hayseed. Important vectors in the traditionally man-made landscape were sheep and cattle or other livestock such as goats. Calcareous grasslands were not only connected to each other but also to other habitats such as villages, forests, arable fields and heathlands by these vectors which could cover large distances (e.g. transhumance shepherding), which is not the case in the current man-made landscape. Species richness after restoration management of abandoned and afforested calcareous grasslands was predicted by using characters of dispersability in space and time. These were the persistence of the species in the vegetation and the diaspore bank after abandonment or afforestation and the dispersal capacity through wind and sheep. The results reveal that reintroduction of sheep grazing is necessary to reestablish the original species richness. The first validation of the prediction of the succession on clear-cut sites and a comparison with data of species composition in abandoned quarries and the surroundings made it obvious that a species' own dispersal capacity in space is very low except for some well wind-dispersed species. Therefore, it is recommended to include and to simulate dispersal processes in future management to be able to restore the original species richness.

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