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Sanderson, M. A., Skinner, R. H., Barker, D. J., Edwards, G. R., Tracy, B. F., Wedin, D. A. (2004): Plant species diversity and management of temperate forage and grazing land ecosystems.
Authors:I. Geedicke, M. Schultz, B. Rudolph, and J. Oldeland
Species richness is a widespread measure to evaluate the effect of different management histories on plant communities and their biodiversity. However, analysing the phylogenetic structure of plant communities could provide new insights into the effects of different management methods on community assemblages and provide further guidance for conservation decisions. Heathlands require permanent management to ensure the existence of such a cultural landscape. While traditional management with grazing is time consuming, mechanical methods are often applied but their consequences on the phylogenetic community assemblages are still unclear. We sampled 60 vegetation plots in dry sandy heathlands (EU habitat type 2310) in northern Germany stratified by five different heathland management histories: fire, plaggen (turf cutting), mowing, deforestation and intensive grazing. Due to the distant relationship of vascular plants and lichens, we assembled two phylogenetic trees, one for vascular plants and one for lichens. We then calculated phylogenetic diversity (PD) and measures of phylogenetic community structure for vascular plant and lichen communities. Deforested areas supported significantly higher PD values for vascular plant communities. We found that PD was strongly correlated with species richness (SR) but the calculation of rarefied PD was uncorrelated to SR leading to a different ranking of management histories. We observed phylogenetic clustering in the lichen communities but not for vascular plants. Thus, management by mowing and intensive grazing promotes habitat filtering of lichens, while management histories that cause greater disturbance such as fire and plaggen do not seem to affect phylogenetic community structure. The set of management strategies fulfilled the goals of the managers in maintaining a healthy heathland community structure. However, management strategies that cause less disturbance can offer an additional range of habitat for other taxonomic groups such as lichen communities.
This study investigated the community structure of ciliates in Gahai Alpine Wetland of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China. We hypothesized that the ciliate community in the Plateau is more complex and the species diversity is richer than those in other climate zones of China. In particular, we studied how the ciliate species responded to environmental temperature, soil moisture content and the manner of pasture utilization. We determined key features of the ciliate communities such as trophic functional groups, ciliate seasonal distribution, species diversity and similarity index at six sample sites from January 2015 to October 2016. To count and characterize ciliates, we combined the non-flooded Petri dish method with in vivo observation and silver staining. We identified 162 ciliate species in this area, showing a high species and functional diversity. The mode of nutrition was diverse, with the lowest number of ciliates in group N (Nonselective omnivores, 4 species) and the highest number in group B (Bacterivores-detritivores, 118 species, corresponding to 73% of the total species number). Ciliate species richness was significantly positively correlated with environmental temperature and moisture and adversely related to the intensity of agricultural land use. Rotational grazing by livestock or suspended grazing might be useful for maintaining good soil quality, thereby favoring ciliate diversity. Our study may serve as a reference to evaluate the ecosystem status of the Gahai Alpine Wetland and other similar areas in future studies.