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.
We used space-for-time substitution to obtain a directed successional sequence for subalpine meadow vegetation in the Swiss National Park. Since human impacts (e.g., domestic animal grazing) ceased in 1914, the successional processes documented are assumed to be autogenic in nature. The data consist of 59 permanent plots spanning almost 90 years, and include many spatial replications. An initial inspection of the individual time series revealed the existence of a variety of response patterns, which are described in the literature as representing different successional types. However, a closer inspection suggested that many of these series can be superimposed, as they are part of a much longer deterministic series. Linking the individual time series proved to be challenging. A heuristic approach produced results that differed depending on initial starting conditions. We therefore derived a deterministic algorithm to produce a unique solution. The resulting sequence largely confirmed the heuristic interpretation, suggesting a trend from early successional (post-grazing) grassland to pine invasion spanning about 400 years. This timespan is valid only for the climatic conditions near the treeline, and for plant species specific to the study site. Our results suggest that the various species temporal response models described in the literature may be artifactual, representing portions of underlying Gaussian responses. The data also indicate that species assemblages may persist for several decades with only minor fluctuations, only to change suddenly for no apparent reason.
A new closed rock sward association (
Erdős et Morschhauser, ass. nova.) has been found and described in the Villány Mts (SW Hungary). This community lives in northern expositions, near the ridge or the plateau. Bedrock is limestone and dolomite. In the association dominated by the grasses
, an unusual mixing of species can be encountered: species of the mesophilous forests, of the karst shrub-forests and of the xerophilous grasslands and rock swards occur together in this community. Description of the new community as a distinct association is supported by the PCoA ordination and the differential species. Ecological properties of the community were characterised by using ecological indicator values. This analysis also shows the dual character of the association. We analysed the new association by computing the spectra of the social behaviour types. The extraordinarily great amount of the disturbance tolerants is probably a consequence of the former grazing pressure or some other disturbance.
Sanita di Toppi, L. and Pawlik-Skowronska, B. (eds) (2003): Abiotic stresses in plants. - Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 231 pp. (ISBN 1-4020-1648-4); Weber, E. (2003): Invasive plant species of the world: A reference guide to environmental weeds. - CAB International Publishing, Wallingford, 548 pp. (ISBN 0-85199-695-7); Werum, M. and Lange-Bertalot, H. (2004): Diatoms in springs from Central Europe and elsewhere under the influence of hydrogeology and anthropogenic impacts. pp. 9-417. Reichardt, E. (2004): Eine bemerkenswerte Diatomeenassoziation in einem Quellhabitat im Grazer Bergland, Österreich. pp. 419-480. - In: Lange-Bertalot, H. (ed.): Iconographia Diatomologica. Annotated Diatom Micrographs. Vol. 13. Ecology-Hydrogeology-Taxonomy. A. R. G. Gantner Verlag K. G. Ruggel, 480 pp.;
Authors:K. Seis, S. Gärtner, P.J. Donoso, and A. Reif
Today, native vegetation in the Valdivian Coastal Range (VCR) is restricted to areas where small-scale land use dominates resulting in a vegetation mosaic. This study (1) provides a description of the vegetation types (VT) within the vegetation mosaic, (2) identifies land use drivers that lead to either degradation or recovery processes and, (3) attempts to provide an explanation for the vegetation mosaic with a conceptual model. In two regions of the VCR we sampled 102 plots for composition of vegetation and indicators of livestock browsing, timber cutting and coppice forestry. We classified the vegetation using a flexible beta method and Bray-Curtis distance. Diagnostic species were identified by an extended indicator species analysis. The clustering results were visualized in NMDS and recursive partitioning was used to explain variations in the VTs as a function of the land use variables. Differentiating effects were tested using PERMANOVA and a conceptual model for the vegetation dynamics was developed from the results. Four VTs such as (1) extensively grazed non-native grasslands (EGN); (2), closed and semi-closed grazed Ugni and Berberis shrublands; (3) severely impacted evergreen forests; and (4) sparsely disturbed evergreen forests were recognized. The browsing indicators were important for differentiating the VTs. The EGN grasslands were differentiated by having more than 0.075 dung piles/m2. Areas with fewer dung piles but direct browsing effects had the greatest impact on vegetation. Forests were preserved when the mean browsing index was equal to or lower than 0.5. The cutting frequency was significant in determining overall floristic composition. We showed that shrublands and evergreen forests within the vegetation mosaic and the result of small-scale farming led to high native forest species richness. This makes the vegetation mosaic especially valuable in a landscape dominated by exotic tree monocultures.
Dann, P.R., Axelsen, A., Dear, B.S., Williams, E.R., Edwards, C.B.H. 1983. Herbage, grain and animal production from winter-grazed cereal crops. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture and Animal Husbandry 23 :154
Alpine grasslands harbour species-rich communities of plants and invertebrates. We examined how environmental variables and anthropogenic impact shape species richness and community structure of terrestrial gastropods in alpine grasslands in the Val Müstair (Eastern Alps, Switzerland). Gastropods were sampled using a standardised method at 76 sites spanning an elevation range from 1430 m to 2770 m. A total of 4763 specimens representing 52 species were recorded. Correspondence analysis based on presence/absence data revealed that the grassland gastropod community was structured in a complex way with elevation, wetness, grazing intensity and inclination of the sites as key factors, while abundance-based analysis identified the importance of the elevation and wetness of sites. Generalized linear model showed that species richness decreased with increasing elevation and increased with increasing soil pH. The grassland gastropod communities were characterized by a high beta diversity, as indicated by the SDR-simplex analysis. Species-specific traits of gastropods showed sensitivity to the environmental characters of the sites, as shown by a fourth-corner analysis.