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Historical landscape connectivity affects present plant species diversity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Botany.
2004 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 85, no 7, 1840-1845 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Transformation of landscapes is considered to be one of the main drivers behind species loss, regionally and globally. Theory and empirical studies suggest that landscape structure influences species diversity in many habitats. These effects may be manifested at different spatial scales depending on species response to landscape heterogeneity. A similar, but often neglected, scaling issue concerns the temporal scale of species response to landscape change. In this study, we found time lags of 50-100 years in the response of plant species diversity to changing configuration of habitats in the landscape. When analyzing remnants of traditionally managed seminatural grasslands in Sweden, we found that species diversity was not related to present-day connectivity of the investigated sites, irrespective of spatial scale (3.1-12.5 km(2)). However, when using maps depicting landscapes 50 and 100 years ago, respectively, strong positive effects of habitat connectivity appeared, at increasing spatial scale for the older landscapes. Thus, analyses of how species diversity relates to present-day landscapes may be misleading, and future species loss may be expected even if the present landscape is maint.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 85, no 7, 1840-1845 p.
Keyword [en]
biodiversity, land-use change, land-use history, seminatural grasslands, spatial and temporal scales
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22649DOI: 10.1890/04-0367OAI: diva2:189214
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102Available from: 2004-04-15 Created: 2004-04-15 Last updated: 2010-07-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Land Use Change in Space and Time: implications for plant species conservation in semi-natural grasslands
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Land Use Change in Space and Time: implications for plant species conservation in semi-natural grasslands
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Land use change has during the last century altered the traditional rural landscape in Sweden, resulting in a major decline in species diversity. Traditional small-scale farming, with a remarkably high small-scale species richness, has changed in favour of rationalized agriculture, and many semi-natural grasslands, i.e. traditionally managed pastures and meadows, have become abandoned. In this thesis I examine how spatio-temporal processes affect plant species in Swedish semi-natural grasslands exposed to habitat degradation as well as recovery (restoration). I also discuss how to conserve plant species associated with semi-natural grasslands.

In general, species responded slowly to habitat degradation, but quickly to improvement of habitat quality. Population viability analysis (PVA) of the grazing favoured herb Primula farinosa suggested, in contrast to historical records, that populations in abandoned grasslands performed better than populations in traditionally managed grasslands, a result questioning the accuracy of PVAs. Restoration of grasslands counteracted species richness decline and the number of species increased within seven years after restoration. It was possible to recruit grassland species in grazed former arable fields by artificial seed-sowing. This may help to speed up the natural recruitment, which often is low due to dispersal limitations in modern fragmented landscapes.

Studies at larger regional scales showed century long time-lags in the response of plant species richness to land use change. Species richness was not related to present-day connectivity of grasslands, but positive effects appeared for grassland configuration in 1950s and 1900s. Thus, making conservation guidelines based solely on present-day data may be strongly misleading and under-estimate the actual risk of species loss. To secure long-term survival of species, it is important to focus on processes associated with larger spatial scales. This may benefit natural dynamics at longer time-scales, where abandoned and restored grasslands, together with species-rich semi-natural grasslands, could become natural parts of sustainable landscape management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Botaniska institutionen, 2004. 120 p.
diversity, management, restoration, landscape, history, Population viability analysis, seed-sowing, Primula farinosa, Campanula rotundifolia, grazing, fragmentation, extinction risk
National Category
Biological Sciences
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102 (URN)91-7265-825-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-05-07, föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-04-15 Created: 2004-04-15Bibliographically approved

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Lindborg, ReginaEriksson, Ove
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