A trait-based analysis of the functional connectivity provided by mobile grazers in an island grazing system
2011 (English)In: 8th IALE World Congress, Beijing 18-21 August 2011: Landscape Ecology for Sustainable Environment and Culture, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
The area of species-rich semi-natural grassland in Europe has declined dramatically duringthe past two centuries. The Stockholm archipelago was once a vibrant agricultural landscape,with the movement of livestock between islands forming an extensive grazing network. Likein much of Europe, agricultural industrialisation led to most grasslands either beingabandoned to become scrub or woodland, or converted to arable fields and subsequentlyreverted to relatively species-poor pasture. The restoration of these habitats to species-richgrassland communities has been a major goal, but restoration success has often been found tobe seed or dispersal limited. In island systems, the hostility of the matrix exacerbates thisproblem, but also provides an ideal study system for investigating the dispersal of plantspecies between fragmented habitats. One management strategy has been to restart smallgrazing networks to improve connectivity in the landscape, and in the summer of 2009, wecollected fresh manure samples from grazing cattle and sheep after movement by boatbetween islands. These were then grown in a greenhouse, and 5915 seedlings of 74 speciesemerged from the 18 samples, corresponding to 18 movements within the grazing network.Comparing the species dispersed with the vegetation communities in the donor and receiverislands, we assess the subset of species and species traits which were transported. We can thusexamine the extent of the functional connectivity provided by these mobile grazers, and theeffect that timing of movement has on the range of species and traits dispersed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66319OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-66319DiVA: diva2:467440