Biological diversity values in semi-natural grasslands: indicators, landscape context and restoration
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Semi-natural grasslands, which are a declining and fragmented habitat in Europe, contain a high biodiversity, and are therefore of interest to conservation. This thesis examines how plant diversity is influenced by the landscape context, and how plant and fungal diversity can be targeted by practical conservation using indicator species and congruence between species groups. Reproduction and recruitment of the dioecious herb Antennaria dioica was also investigated, providing a case study on how fragmentation and habitat degradation may affect grassland plants.
Grassland size and heterogeneity were of greater importance for plant diversity in semi-natural grassland, than present or historical connectivity to other grasslands, or landscape characteristics. Larger grasslands were more heterogeneous than smaller grasslands, being the likely reason for the species-area relationship.
A detailed study on A. dioica discovered that sexual reproduction and recruitment may be hampered due to skewed sex-ratios. Sex-ratios were more skewed in small populations, suggesting that dioecious plants are likely to be particularly sensitive to reduced grassland size and fragmentation.
A study on indicators of plant species richness, used in a recent survey of remaining semi-natural grasslands in Sweden, revealed several problems. A high percentage of all indicator species were missed by the survey, removing an otherwise significant correlation between indicator species and plant species richness. Also, a null model showed that the chosen indicator species did not perform significantly better than species chosen at random from the available species pool, questioning the selection of the indicators in the survey. Diversity patterns of the threatened fungal genus Hygrocybe were not congruent with plant species richness or composition. Plants are thus a poor surrogate group for Hygrocybe fungi, and probably also for other grassland fungi. Implications from this thesis are that conservation of semi-natural grasslands should target several species groups, and that an appropriate scale for plant conservation may be local rather than regional.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Botaniska institutionen , 2006. , 41 p.
Biodiversity, connectivity, Hygrocybe, indicators, landscape history, plants, pollen limitation, species-area effects, surrogate species
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1352ISBN: 91-7155-341-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-1352DiVA: diva2:189934
2006-12-15, föreläsningssalen, Botanicum, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00
Zobel, Martin, Professor
Eriksson, Ove, Professor
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