Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Past and present management influences the seed bank and seed rain in a rural landscape mosaic
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Applied Ecology, ISSN 0021-8901, E-ISSN 1365-2664, Vol. 48, no 5, 1278-1285 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Seed bank and seed rain represent dispersal in time and space. They can be important sources of diversity in the rural landscape, where fragmented habitats are linked by their histories. 2. Seed bank, seed rain and above-ground vegetation were sampled in four habitat types (abandoned semi-natural grassland (ABA), grazed former arable field (FAF), mid-field islet (MFI) and grazed semi-natural grassland (SNG)) in a rural landscape in southern Sweden, to examine whether community patterns can be distinguished at large spatial scales and whether seed bank and seed rain are best explained by current, past or intended future vegetation communities. 3. We counted 54 357 seedlings of 188 species from 1190 seed bank and 797 seed rain samples. Seed bank, seed rain and above-ground vegetation communities differed according to habitat. Several species characteristic of managed grassland vegetation were present in the seed bank, seed rain and vegetation of the other habitats. 4. The seed banks of SNGs and the seed rain of the FAFs were generally better predicted by the surrounding above-ground vegetation than were the other habitat types. The seed rain of the grazed communities was most similar to the vegetation in the FAFs, while the seed banks of the abandoned grasslands most resembled the vegetation in SNGs. 5. Gap availability and seed input could be limiting the colonisation of target species in FAFs, while remnant populations in the seed bank and the presence of grassland specialists in the above-ground vegetation indicate that abandoned grasslands and mid-field islets could be valuable sources of future diversity in the landscape after restoration. 6. Synthesis and applications. SNG communities are able to form seed banks which survive land-use change, but their seed rain does not reflect their above-ground communities. It is important that grassland plants set seed. By connecting existing grasslands with restoration targets, increased disturbance in the target habitats would allow for colonisation via the seed bank or seed rain, while decreased grazing intensity would benefit seed production in the source grasslands. Otherwise, landscape-wide propagule availability might increase with a more varied timing and intensity of management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 48, no 5, 1278-1285 p.
Keyword [en]
abandonment, biodiversity, co-correspondence analysis, conservation, dispersal, former arable fields, land-use history, mid-field islet, restoration, semi-natural grassland
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-69879DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02019.xISI: 000295095100024OAI: diva2:479793
Available from: 2012-11-19 Created: 2012-01-15 Last updated: 2013-06-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Seed mobility and connectivity in changing rural landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seed mobility and connectivity in changing rural landscapes
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The success or failure of many organisms to respond to the challenges of habitat destruction and a warming climate lies in the ability of plant species to disperse between isolated habitats or to migrate to new ranges. European semi-natural grasslands represent one of the world's most species-rich habitats at small scales, but agricultural intensification during the 20th century has meant that many plant species are left only on small fragments of former habitat. It is important that these plants can disperse, both for the maintenance of existing populations, and for the colonisation of target species to restored grasslands. This thesis investigates the ecological, geographical and historical influences on seed dispersal and connectivity in semi-natural grasslands, and the mobility of plants through time and space. Seed dispersal by human activity has played a large role in the build-up of plant communities in rural landscapes, but patterns have shifted. Livestock are the most traditional, and probably the most capable seed dispersal vector in the landscape, but other dispersal methods may also be effective. Motor vehicles disperse seeds with similar traits to those dispersed by livestock, while 39% of valuable grasslands in southern Sweden are connected by the road network. Humans are found to disperse around one-third of available grassland species, including several protected and red-listed species, indicating that humans may have been valuable seed dispersers in the past when rural populations were larger. Past activities can also affect seed mobility in time through the seed bank, as seeds of grassland plant species are shown to remain in the soil even after the grassland had been abandoned. Today however, low seed rain in intensively grazed semi-natural grasslands indicates that seed production may be a limiting factor in allowing seeds to be dispersed in space through the landscape.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 2013. 38 p.
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 37
Biodiversity, Conservation, Functional connectivity, Historical ecology, Human-mediated dispersal, Invasive species, Landscape Ecology, Long-distance dispersal, Restoration, Seed bank, Seed dispersal, Seed rain, Structural connectivity
National Category
Physical Geography Ecology
Research subject
Physical Geography
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89105 (URN)978-91-7447-692-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-05, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Formas, 2006-2130

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: In press. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-05-14 Created: 2013-04-11 Last updated: 2013-05-03Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Fulltext(430 kB)131 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 430 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Auffret, Alistair G.Cousins, Sara A. O.
By organisation
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
In the same journal
Journal of Applied Ecology
Natural Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 142 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 64 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link