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Land uplift creates important meadow habitat and a potential original niche for grassland species
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; University of York, UK.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Number of Authors: 22018 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 285, no 1876, article id 20172349Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Semi-natural grasslands have been severely affected by agricultural land-use change. However, the isostatic land adjustment following deglaciation in the Northern Hemisphere means that new land is continually being created in coastal areas. We modelled isostatic adjustment during the last 4000 years in a region of the Baltic coast to estimate the emergence of potential grassland habitat. We also compared the alpha and beta diversity of existing managed and abandoned coastal meadows, and assessed their contribution to biodiversity at landscape scales. We estimated that half the 7866 km(2) of emerging land had the potential to become coastal meadow habitat, which is an order of magnitude larger than the total area of all valuable semi-natural grassland in the study region today. The small area of managed coastal habitat remaining was found to have a disproportionate influence on the richness of threatened species at landscape scales, but our results also show that continued management is essential for the maintenance of grassland biodiversity. Our combination of approaches identifies uplifted coastal meadows as an additional original niche for grassland plant species, while highlighting that low-intensity disturbance through grassland management is essential for the maintenance of diversity at multiple scales.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 285, no 1876, article id 20172349
Keywords [en]
Baltic sea, biodiversity, coastal ecosystems, grazing, isostatic rebound, shore meadow
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-156736DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2349ISI: 000430866500001PubMedID: 29643206OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-156736DiVA, id: diva2:1219866
Available from: 2018-06-18 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Auffret, Alistair G.Cousins, Sara A. O.
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