Authors:G. Koncz, P. Török, M. Papp, G. Matus, and B. Tóthmérész
Intensification of land use in the last few decades resulted in an increased rate of fragmentation of natural forest habitats. With decreased patch size but increased total borderline length the influence of the surroundings also increased. The extent of influence is especially crucial where the forest stands are adjacent to agricultural lands. We studied the vegetation (cover) and seed bank (soil samples, seedling emergence) along adjacent stands of an abandoned vineyard and edge and interior of an oak forest community (Quercetum petraeae-cerris) widespread in Central-Europe, using five transects (16 m2 plots along each transect). We asked the following questions: (i) How do vegetation and seed bank composition differ between the vineyard and forest interior and (ii) which weeds are able to penetrate into the forest herbaceous understorey vegetation and seed banks from the vineyard? In total, 15 phanaerophytes and 147 herbs were detected. Negatively associated with canopy shading, herb cover proved the lowest in the forest inferior. Few weeds and other ruderals recorded in vineyard penetrated into the forest interior. Mean seed density decreased one order of magnitude from the vineyard to the forest interior (from 20,831 to 2,159 seed/m2). The seed banks of the abandoned vineyard and edge and forest interior were dominated by ruderals, but decreasing proportion of weeds was detected from the vineyard to the forest interior. Characteristic forest herbs possessed at most sparse seed banks. Our results suggest that high canopy cover mitigates the negative impact of surrounding weedy vegetation on the forest herb layer. Therefore, the effect of surroundings is detectable mostly in the seed banks. We can assume that the formation of an increased ruderal herb cover can be foreseen if canopy opens, because the local propagule sources of forest species are missing from vegetation and soil seed banks.
Authors:M. Gobbi, M. Caccianiga, B. Cerabolini, F. Bernardi, A. Luzzaro, and S. Pierce
Little is known of how changes in plant function may influence adaptive traits amongst animals further up the food chain. We addressed the hypothesis that shifts in plant functional traits are associated with the adaptive function of animal species which have an indirect trophic link. We compared community characteristics and functional traits of two trophically detached biotic groups (vascular plants and carabid beetles) along a primary succession on terrain at the Cedec glacier in the Alps, where deglaciation events following post-Little Ice Age climate warmings are marked by moraine ridges. Morphofunctional traits were recorded: canopy height (CH), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), leaf dry weight (LDW) and specific leaf area (SLA) (for plants) and the number of brachypterous, autumn-breeding and predator species, and average body length (for carabid beetles). We found that vegetation cover and plant species richness gradually increased throughout early succession, with an abrupt increase between 40 and 150 years after deglaciation. At the early stages of the succession plant traits were typical of ruderal species (high SLA, low CH, LDW) whilst a shift in traits towards stress-tolerance (low SLA) occurred >150 years. Carabid communities and traits changed alongside changes in plant species richness and cover, with late successional vegetation hosting larger, more diverse, less mobile carabid species with longer larval development. Thus, ruderal plant strategies are the main contributors during vegetation development, determining vegetation quantity, and probably have the greatest impact on changes in carabid assemblages by regulating resource availability. Plants then require greater stress-tolerance to survive in stable vegetation, which supports high carabid diversity. This suggests that different plant strategies may affect ground beetle communities via contrasting mechanisms: both quantities (biomass, species richness) and qualities (functional traits, adaptive strategies) should be taken into account during studies of plant-animal interactions within ecosystems.
Authors:Gábor Szilágyi, Katalin Náfrádi, and Pál Sümegi
covered by a community of dry ruderalspecies, and this is separated by a fairly sharp border from the other vegetation zones. On the road cutting through the mound in an east–west direction, the tracks are flanked by trampled weed associations. Arboreal