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The on-going Biodiversity Monitoring in Switzerland Programme (BDM) has monitored vascular-plant species richness since 2001. This long-term programme focuses on two indicators at different spatial scales. First, the local diversity indicator monitors changes of species richness within habitats or types of land use (within-habitat diversity). Second, the landscape diversity indicator is utilized to describe landscape diversity (i.e., within-habitat mosaic diversity). Here we examine if the reproducibility of the BDM methods is sufficiently precise to detect future changes in species richness. We demonstrate that systematic methodical errors are negligible. Random errors that make changes more difficult to detect are also small. We calculate the Minimum Detectable Difference (MDD) for selected BDM strata using the variance of measured values. Then we deduce the MDD values for paired samples using data from grasslands and forests in the Canton Argovia. With 2.4 and 1.6 species they are promisingly precise. We develop a simple scenario for possible changes in species richness and show that they surpass the deduced MDD values by a factor four to six. We conclude that the BDM methods are appropriate for detecting future changes in species richness.

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A harsh ecosystem in a semi-arid area is the target of the current study. Restoration pattern was not well understood due to the lack of studies. Botanical surveys were performed over the years 2005 through 2011 in the semi-arid area in Jordan. Our objectives were to identify the vegetative cover types and the extent of restoration. Quantitative and qualitative analysis on plant species were conducted. The potential and pattern of restoration in term of plant species richness and vegetative cover composition were measured. Results showed that 34 different plant species were found to be grown in the study area, and they belonged to 14 plant families and 4 chorotypes. Mediterranean-Irano-Turanian was the dominant. We concluded that the composition of the vegetation cover did not recover as similar to the original composition after abandonment. However, further researches are needed to precisely track the effect of abandonment on vegetative cover development and restoration.

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Local plant species richness and composition may vary across habitats and between plant taxonomic groups within temperate deciduous forests. Multi-taxon approach is therefore needed to provide a more detailed insight into determinants affecting vegetation structure. Fifty-four deciduous oak-dominated vegetation plots (20 m × 20 m) were sampled across central Slovakia (Štiavnické vrchy Mts) in order to study the effect of environmental (soil, light, topographic) factors on species richness and composition patterns of two main assemblages of understorey layer (herb-layer vascular plants and ground-dwelling bryophytes). The number of recorded herb-layer vascular plants and ground-dwelling bryophytes was 12–48 (mean 28) and 0–11 (mean 4) species per plot, respectively. Generalized linear model revealed that species richness of herb-layer vascular plants was driven by canopy openness, altitude, soil pH/base saturation gradient and plant-available phosphorus. Canopy openness and heat load index accompanied by soil pH/base saturation gradient determined changes of the ground-dwelling bryophyte richness. Canonical Correspondence Analysis identified soil pH/base saturation gradient, canopy openness, soil silt and topography related predictors (altitude, slope, radiation) as the main drivers of the herb-layer vascular plant compositional variability. Species composition variation of ground-dwelling bryophytes was controlled by radiation and canopy openness.

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Isselstein , J. 2007 . Plant species richness and composition in managed grasslands: The relative importance of field management and environmental factors . Biol. Conserv. 134 : 559 – 570

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Dumortier, M., J. Butaye, H. Jacquemyn, N. van Camp, N. Lust and M. Hermy. 2002. Predicting vascular plant species richness of fragmented forests in agricultural landscapes in central Belgium. Forest Ecol. Manag. 158: 85

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We established microcosms of crop species (Borago officinalis, Brassica oleracea, Glycine max, Lactuca sativa, Lycopersicon esculentum, Ocimum basilicum, Tagetes patula, Zinnia violacea) in a richness gradient from 1 to 8 species to determine the effects of initial richness on the richness and composition of. weed. communities emerging from artificial seed banks. Most crop species performed better in mixture than in monoculture. The richness of . weeds. was not significantly related to the initial diversity of crops, but weed richness did appear to be a function of crop species (even after accounting for variation in crop and weed biomass). The composition of weeds was significantly related to initial crop composition, although not to interactions between crop species.

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Due to the difficulties of field-based species data collection at wide spatial scales, remotely sensed spectral diversity has been advocated as one of the most effective proxies of ecosystem and species diversity. It is widely accepted that the relationship between species and spectral diversity is scale dependent. However, few studies have evaluated the impacts of scale on species diversity estimates from remote sensing data. In this paper we tested the species versus spectral relationship over very large scales (extents) with a varying spatial grain using floristic data of North America. Spectral diversity explained a low amount of variance while spatial extent of the sampling units (floras) explained a high amount of variance based on results from our variance partitioning analyses. This leads to the conclusion that spectral diversity must be carefully related to species diversity, explicitly taking into account potential area effects.

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Auerbach, M. and A. Shmida. 1987. Spatial scale and the determinants of plant species richness. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 2:238-242. Spatial scale and the determinants of plant species richness

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Plattner, M., S. Birrer and D. Weber. 2004. Data quality in monitoring plant species richness in Switzerland. Community Ecol. 5: 135–143. Weber D. Data quality in monitoring plant

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Community Ecology
Authors:
G. Bacaro
,
S. Maccherini
,
A. Chiarucci
,
A. Jentsch
,
D. Rocchini
,
D. Torri
,
M. Gioria
,
E. Tordoni
,
S. Martellos
,
A. Altobelli
,
R. Otto
,
C. G. Escudero
,
S. Fernández-Lugo
,
J. M. Fernández-Palacios
, and
J. R. Arévalo

Invasion by alien plant species may be rapid and aggressive, causing erosion of local biodiversity. This is particularly true for islands, where natural and anthropogenic corridors promote the rapid spread of invasive plants. Although evidence shows that corridors may facilitate plant invasions, the question of how their importance in the spread of alien species varies along environmental gradients deserves more attention. Here, we addressed this issue by examining diversity patterns (species richness of endemic, native and alien species) along and across roads, along an elevation gradient from sea-level up to 2050 m a.s.l. in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), at multiple spatial scales. Species richness was assessed using a multi-scale sampling design consisting of 59 T-transects of 150 m × 2 m, along three major roads each placed over the whole elevation gradient. Each transect was composed of three sections of five plots each: Section 1 was located on the road edges, Section 2 at intermediate distance, and Section 3 far from the road edge, the latter representing the “native community” less affected by road-specific disturbance. The effect of elevation and distance from roadsides was evaluated for the three groups of species (endemic, native and alien species), using parametric and non-parametric regression analyses as well as additive diversity partitioning. Differences among roads explained the majority of the variation in alien species richness and composition. Patterns in alien species richness were also affected by elevation, with a decline in richness with increasing elevation and no alien species recorded at high elevations. Elevation was the most important factor determining patterns in endemic and native species. These findings confirm that climate filtering reflected in varying patterns along elevational gradients is an important determinant of the richness of alien species (which are not adapted to high elevations), while anthropogenic pressures may explain the richness of alien species at low elevation.

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