The influence of field shape, area and surrounding landscape on plant species richness in grazed ex-fields
2008 (English)In: BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, Vol. 141, 126-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Over the past 100 years species-rich semi-natural grasslands have decreased dramatically in Western Europe, where former arable fields (ex-fields) are used instead as pasture. The disappearance of semi-natural grasslands have caused a threat to the biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Many typical grassland plants are dispersal limited, thus grazed ex-fields can be used to investigate if species spontaneously colonise these new grassland habitats. We examined the relationship between surrounding landscape, field area, shape, distance between edge and centre, and plant species diversity in ex-fields that had been grazed for 15-18 years. The results showed that there were 35% more plant species in fields surrounded by commercial forestry production compared to those surrounded by open agricultural landscape. Area and shape did not influence species richness, although there was increasing number of species in the centre with decreasing distance from the edge. 25% of the species where typical grassland species, and ex-fields surrounded by forest had 91% more grassland species compared to those in the open landscape. It is possible to increase grassland plant occurrences by grazing ex-fields surrounded by forest or other grassland remnant habitats, particularly in landscapes where grazed semi-natural grasslands are scarce.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 141, 126-135 p.
Agroecosystem, Biodiversity, Colonisation, Dispersal, Forest, Grassland, Shape index
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21094DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2007.09.004ISI: 000252206900014OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-21094DiVA: diva2:187620