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Historical Factors Affecting the Distribution of Mercurialis Perennis in Central Lincolnshire
G. F. Peterken and Margaret Game
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 69, No. 3 (Nov., 1981), pp. 781-796
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2259636
Page Count: 16
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(1) The distribution of Mercurialis perennis in central Lincolnshire is described and analysed mainly in terms of age and origin of the woods and hedges it inhabits. (2) The 154 separate populations are divided into: (a) 119 relict populations, in which Mercurialis could have survived on or near the present location throughout historical times; and (b) 35 colonizing populations, which have probably become established in recent centuries. (3) Survival of Mercurialis in individual ancient woods has not been affected by their area or isolation. Survival in wood-relict hedges may have been greater in those least isolated from ancient woods. (4) Colonization of secondary woods and planted hedges has been slow and mostly restricted to sites close to relict populations. Colonization of more isolated sites has been possible only in districts with freely-drained, alkaline soils. The rate of colonization into larger woods is not significantly faster than that into smaller woods. (5) The long-term history of Mercurialis in central Lincolnshire is reconstructed and the implications for nature conservation are discussed.
Journal of Ecology © 1981 British Ecological Society