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  • 1. Albert, Aurélie
    et al.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Cosyns, Eric
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    D'hondt, Bram
    Eichberg, Carsten
    Eycott, Amy E.
    Heinken, Thilo
    Hoffmann, Maurice
    Jaroszewicz, Bogdan
    Malo, Juan E.
    Mårell, Anders
    Mouissie, Maarten
    Pakeman, Robin J.
    Picard, Mélanie
    Plue, Jan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Poschlod, Peter
    Provoost, Sam
    Schulze, Kiowa Alraune
    Baltzinger, Christophe
    Seed dispersal by ungulates as an ecological filter: a trait-based meta-analysis2015In: Oikos, ISSN 0030-1299, E-ISSN 1600-0706, Vol. 124, no 9, p. 1109-1120Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Plant communities are often dispersal-limited and zoochory can be an efficient mechanism for plants to colonize new patches of potentially suitable habitat. We predicted that seed dispersal by ungulates acts as an ecological filter - which differentially affects individuals according to their characteristics and shapes species assemblages - and that the filter varies according to the dispersal mechanism (endozoochory, fur-epizoochory and hoof-epizoochory). We conducted two-step individual participant data meta-analyses of 52 studies on plant dispersal by ungulates in fragmented landscapes, comparing eight plant traits and two habitat indicators between dispersed and non-dispersed plants. We found that ungulates dispersed at least 44% of the available plant species. Moreover, some plant traits and habitat indicators increased the likelihood for plant of being dispersed. Persistent or nitrophilous plant species from open habitats or bearing dry or elongated diaspores were more likely to be dispersed by ungulates, whatever the dispersal mechanism. In addition, endozoochory was more likely for diaspores bearing elongated appendages whereas epizoochory was more likely for diaspores released relatively high in vegetation. Hoof-epizoochory was more likely for light diaspores without hooked appendages. Fur-epizoochory was more likely for diaspores with appendages, particularly elongated or hooked ones. We thus observed a gradient of filtering effect among the three dispersal mechanisms. Endozoochory had an effect of rather weak intensity (impacting six plant characteristics with variations between ungulate-dispersed and non-dispersed plant species mostly below 25%), whereas hoof-epizoochory had a stronger effect (eight characteristics included five ones with above 75% variation), and fur-epizoochory an even stronger one (nine characteristics included six ones with above 75% variation). Our results demonstrate that seed dispersal by ungulates is an ecological filter whose intensity varies according to the dispersal mechanism considered. Ungulates can thus play a key role in plant community dynamics and have implications for plant spatial distribution patterns at multiple scales.

  • 2.
    Auffret, Alistair
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
    The role of past and present management in the seed dispersal of grassland plants in the rural landscape2010Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The destruction and fragmentation of semi-natural grasslands due toagricultural industrialisation during the past 150 years has had seriousconsequences for biodiversity in the rural landscape. Currently, plantcommunities are usually better explained by historical than by presentday landscape configurations, and the ability for plant species todisperse in space and in time, within and between remaining habitatfragments or to restoration sites will be an important factor in thefuture diversity in the landscape. Here, I present a landscape scaleseed bank and seed rain experiment covering semi-natural grasslands,pastures on former arable fields, abandoned grasslands and smallremnant habitats. The results suggest that in addition to grasslandspecialists remaining in the field layer of abandoned grasslands,remnant seed banks have the potential to be important contributors tothe future diversity of the rural landscape. However, unsuitablegrazing intensities in current pastures are limiting the potential fordispersal of target species across the landscape. Despite large changesin agricultural practice, there still exists the opportunity for human-mediated seed dispersal to increase functional connectivity infragmented landscapes, and I also present a review article in which Iassess past and present human-mediated seed dispersal vectors, andgive recommendations for management and further research.

  • 3.
    Auffret, Alistair
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
    Cousins, Sara
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
    Seed bank and seed rain in a rural landscape mosaic2010In: 40th Annual Conference - Geselschaft für Ökologie - Book of Abstracts: The future of biodiversity: genes, species, ecosystems / [ed] Volkmar Wolters, Janine Groh, Franziska Peter, Rainer Waldhardt, 2010Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Semi natural grasslands are among Europe's most species rich habitats, but modernagricultural change has placed them under threat. The potential for restoration mighthowever exist, thanks to remnant plant populations in abandoned grasslands and smallremnant habitats, and the reintroduction of grazing in former arable fields. This studyempirically investigated the potential contribution of seed banks and seed rain in therestoration and conservation of grassland plant populations in the rural landscape, and tosee if samples taken at the landscape scale could give a general and meaningful overview,despite the known small scale variability in seed distribution. We took 30 seed banksamples, and placed 30 seed traps in ten replicates of grazed semi-natural grasslands,grazed former arable fields, mid-field islets and abandoned semi-natural grasslands in a236km landscape in southern Sweden. Plant species occurrence at each site was alsoinvestigated. Seed bank and seed rain samples were planted in a greenhouse assess theirgerminable seed content, from which 54 376 seedlings of 188 species emerged. Aboveground vegetation was found to be a generally poor predictor of seed bank and seed rainin all habitats. The presence of grassland specialists in the bank and rain samples ofabandoned grasslands and grazed former arable fields where they were not present in thevegetation implies a recolonisation potential for grassland communities at large temporaland spatial scales.

  • 4.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Can seed dispersal by human activity play a useful role for the conservation of European grasslands?2011In: Applied Vegetation Science, ISSN 1402-2001, E-ISSN 1654-109X, Vol. 14, no 3, p. 291-303Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: To review the recent research into human-mediated dispersal (HMD) in the European rural landscape, and explore the potential positive aspect of HMD for grassland conservation, in contrast to it's common association with the spread of invasive species. Methods: A literature search was undertaken to identify HMD vectors in the rural landscape for discussion regarding dispersal potential past and present, implications for management, and the identification of future research needs. Results: Grazing animals are important propagule dispersers, but the reduced movement of livestock through the landscape has also meant a reduction in seeds dispersed in this way. Other, non-standard human-mediated dispersal vectors such as clothing and motor vehicles can also transport seeds of many species, and HMD vectors often transport seeds with a variety of dispersal specialisations. Recommendations: There should be a greater movement of grazing animals throughout the landscape, either within larger grazing areas or between existing grasslands. Where this is not possible, other, more directed dispersal of propagules from species-rich communities to target sites should be considered. The potential of non-standard HMD vectors to make a positive contribution to biodiversity should be considered, but more research into all types of HMD vectors is important if we are to fully understand their role in the dispersal of plant species in fragmented landscapes.

  • 5.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Seed mobility and connectivity in changing rural landscapes2013Doctoral 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.

  • 6.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Aggemyr, Elsa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Plue, Jan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Spatial scale and specialization affect how biogeography and functional traits predict long-term patterns of community turnover2017In: Functional Ecology, ISSN 0269-8463, E-ISSN 1365-2435, Vol. 31, no 2, p. 436-443Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    1. Immigration, extirpation and persistence of individual populations of species are key processes determining community responses to environmental change. However, they are difficult to study over long time periods without corresponding historical and modern-day species occurrences.

    2. We used historical and present-day plant species occurrence data from two different spatial scales (resolutions) to investigate the plant community turnover during the 20th century in a Baltic Sea archipelago. Patterns of turnover were analysed in relation to plant functional traits relating to dispersal and competition/persistence, as well as biogeographical variables.

    3. Turnover was largely driven by interactions between functional traits and measures of area, connectivity and distance to mainland. However, the combinations of traits and biogeographical variables that were most important for predicting immigration and extirpation differed between data sets, and between species associated with grassland management and the entire species pool.

    4. Taller plants were more likely to persist regardless of scale and biogeography, reflecting the grazing abandonment that occurred in the study area. Interactions between dispersal traits and biogeography were related to immigrations when the entire species pool was considered. However, increased dispersal potential, a smaller island size and increasing distance to mainland combined to promote extirpations in management-associated species. A perennial life span and seed banking contributed to species persistence. At the larger spatial scale, trait-driven turnover was not mediated by the biogeographical context.

    5. We showed that it is important to consider functional traits, biogeographical variables and their interactions when analysing community turnover over time. Furthermore, we found that the understanding of how combinations of traits and biogeography predict turnover depends on the source and spatial scale of the available data, and the species pool analysed.

  • 7.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Berg, Johan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
    Cousins, Sara
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Dispersal geography: a new concept for managing seed dispersal in rural landscapesManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Cousins, Sara
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Humans as long-distance dispersers of rural plant communities2013In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 8, no 5, p. e62763-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Humans are known for their capacity to disperse organisms long distances. Long-distance dispersal can be important for speciesthreatened by habitat destruction, but research into human-mediated dispersal is often focussed upon few and/or invasive species.Here we use citizen science to identify the capacity for humans to disperse seeds on their clothes and footwear from a knownspecies pool in a valuable habitat, allowing for an assessment of the fraction and types of species dispersed by humans in analternative context. We collected material from volunteers cutting 48 species-rich meadows throughout Sweden. We counted 24354 seeds of 197 species, representing 34% of the available species pool, including several rare and protected species. However, 71species (36%) are considered invasive elsewhere in the world. Trait analysis showed that seeds with hooks or other appendageswere more likely to be dispersed by humans, as well as those with a persistent seed bank. More activity in a meadow resulted inmore dispersal, both in terms of species and representation of the source communities. Average potential dispersal distances weremeasured at 13 km. We consider humans capable seed dispersers, transporting a significant proportion of the plant communities inwhich they are active, just like more traditional vectors such as livestock. When rural populations were larger, people might havebeen regular and effective seed dispersers, and the net rural-urban migration resulting in a reduction in humans in the landscapemay have exacerbated the dispersal failure evident in declining plant populations today. With the fragmentation of habitat andchanges in land use resulting from agricultural change, and the increased mobility of humans worldwide, the dispersal role ofhumans may have shifted from providers of regular local and landscape dispersal to providers of much rarer long-distance andregional dispersal, and international invasion.

  • 9.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden; University of York, UK.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Land uplift creates important meadow habitat and a potential original niche for grassland species2018In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 285, no 1876, article id 20172349Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Semi-natural grasslands have been severely affected by agricultural land-use change. However, the isostatic land adjustment following deglaciation in the Northern Hemisphere means that new land is continually being created in coastal areas. We modelled isostatic adjustment during the last 4000 years in a region of the Baltic coast to estimate the emergence of potential grassland habitat. We also compared the alpha and beta diversity of existing managed and abandoned coastal meadows, and assessed their contribution to biodiversity at landscape scales. We estimated that half the 7866 km(2) of emerging land had the potential to become coastal meadow habitat, which is an order of magnitude larger than the total area of all valuable semi-natural grassland in the study region today. The small area of managed coastal habitat remaining was found to have a disproportionate influence on the richness of threatened species at landscape scales, but our results also show that continued management is essential for the maintenance of grassland biodiversity. Our combination of approaches identifies uplifted coastal meadows as an additional original niche for grassland plant species, while highlighting that low-intensity disturbance through grassland management is essential for the maintenance of diversity at multiple scales.

  • 10.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Past and present management influences the seed bank and seed rain in a rural landscape mosaic2011In: Journal of Applied Ecology, ISSN 0021-8901, E-ISSN 1365-2664, Vol. 48, no 5, p. 1278-1285Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 11.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Cousins, Sara A.O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Grassland connectivity by motor vehicles and grazing livestock2013In: Ecography, ISSN 0906-7590, E-ISSN 1600-0587, Vol. 36, no 10, p. 1150-1157Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In addition to habitat loss and fragmentation, agricultural change has led to a change in seed dispersal processes in therural landscape through a loss of structural and functional connectivity. Here, human-mediated dispersal vectors areprevalent, and we explored whether the loss of connectivity via free-ranging livestock could be mitigated by the increasein roads and motor vehicles. We found that structurally, 39% of all valuable semi-natural grassland habitats in southernSweden are adjacent to public road verges, which in the rural landscape are often considered to be suitable habitat forgrassland species. Additionally, by collecting mud attached to cars and farming machinery and manure from livestock(cattle, horse, sheep) grazing semi-natural grassland pasture, we found that motor vehicles are also capable seed dispers-ers. A similar number of species were dispersed by both vectors, although the composition of samples was quite different.Motor vehicles dispersed more grassland specialists than invasive species, although in much lower abundances than didgrazing livestock. Despite these differences, motor vehicles were found to be able to disperse species with the same kindsof dispersal traits as livestock. A high number of seeds, species and specialists in manure samples means that greater move-ment of livestock is desirable to increase functional grassland connectivity. However, effective management could improvethe suitability of roadsides as grassland corridors and increase the availability of seeds for long-distance human-mediateddispersal via cars and tractors. Our results suggest that in many rural landscapes, connectivity by road networks couldhelp mediate habitat loss and fragmentation of grasslands. However, such effects can be context dependent, and the con-nectivity provided by roads could have serious negative consequences in other regions.

  • 12.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. University of York, UK.
    Kimberley, Adam
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Plue, Jan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Skånes, Helle
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Jakobsson, Simon
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Waldén, Emelie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Wennbom, Marika
    Wood, Heather
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Bullock, James M.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Gartz, Mira
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Hooftman, Danny A. P.
    Tränk, Louise
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    HistMapR: Rapid digitization of historical land-use maps in R2017In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, ISSN 2041-210X, E-ISSN 2041-210X, Vol. 8, no 11, p. 1453-1457Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Habitat destruction and degradation represent serious threats to biodiversity, and quantification of land-use change over time is important for understanding the consequences of these changes to organisms and ecosystem service provision. Comparing land use between maps from different time periods allows estimation of the magnitude of habitat change in an area. However, digitizing historical maps manually is time-consuming and analyses of change are usually carried out at small spatial extents or at low resolutions. HistMapR contains a number of functions that can be used to semi-automatically digitize historical land use according to a map's colours, as defined by the RGB bands of the raster image. We test the method on different historical land-use map series and compare results to manual digitizations. Digitization is fast, and agreement with manually digitized maps of around 80-90% meets common targets for image classification. We hope that the ability to quickly classify large areas of historical land use will promote the inclusion of land-use change into analyses of biodiversity, species distributions and ecosystem services.

  • 13.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Meineri, Eric
    Bruun, Hans Henrik
    Ejrnæs, Rasmus
    Graae, Bente J.
    Ontogenetic niche shifts in three Vaccinium species on a sub-alpine mountain side2010In: Plant Ecology & Diversity, ISSN 1755-0874, E-ISSN 1755-1668, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 131-139Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Climate warming in arctic and alpine regions is expected to result in the altitudinal migration of plant species, but current predictions neglect differences between species' regeneration niche and established niche.

    Aims: To examine potential recruitment of Vaccinium myrtillus, V. uliginosum and V. vitis-idaea on a mountain slope in northern Sweden in relation to current adult occurrence.

    Methods: We combined a seed-sowing experiment in seven community types with adult occurrence observations and species distribution mapping.

    Results: Emergence of V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea seedlings was significantly related to community type, while V. uliginosum was indifferent, but exhibited the highest average emergence. Adult occurrence was related to community, and ontogenetic niche shifts were observed for all three study species. V. myrtillus was shown to have the highest potential recruitment in habitats at altitudes above its current populations.

    Conclusions: The potential for migration exists, but incongruence between regenerative and established niches presents a challenge for colonisers, as well as for plant migration modelling.

  • 14.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Plue, Jan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Scale-dependent diversity effects of seed dispersal by a wild herbivore in fragmented grasslands2014In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, E-ISSN 1432-1939, Vol. 175, no 1, p. 305-313Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Dispersal limitation between habitat fragments is a known driver of landscape-scale biodiversity loss. In Europe, agricultural intensification during the twentieth century resulted in losses of both grassland habitat and traditional grassland seed dispersal vectors such as livestock. During the same period, populations of large wild herbivores have increased in the landscape. Usually studied in woodland ecosystems, these animals are found to disperse seeds from grasslands and other open habitats. We studied endozoochorous seed dispersal by roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in fragmented grasslands and grassland remnants, comparing dispersed subcommunities of plant species to those in the established vegetation and the seed bank. A total of 652 seedlings of 67 species emerged from 219 samples of roe deer dung. This included many grassland species, and several local grassland specialists. Dispersal had potentially different effects on diversity at different spatial scales. Almost all sites received seeds of species not observed in the vegetation or seed bank at that site, suggesting that local diversity might not be dispersal limited. This pattern was less evident at the landscape scale, where fewer new species were introduced. Nonetheless, long-distance dispersal by large wild herbivores might still provide connectivity between fragmented habitats within a landscape in the areas in which they are active. Finally, as only a subset of the available species were found to disperse in space as well as time, the danger of future biodiversity loss might still exist in many isolated grassland habitats.

  • 15.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Plue, Jan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    The spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity in fragmented landscapes2015In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, E-ISSN 1654-7209, Vol. 44, p. s51-S59Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Connectivity is key for understanding how ecological systems respond to the challenges of land-use change and habitat fragmentation. Structural and functional connectivity are both established concepts in ecology, but the temporal component of connectivity deserves more attention. Whereas functional connectivity is often associated with spatial patterns (spatial functional connectivity), temporal functional connectivity relates to the persistence of organisms in time, in the same place. Both temporal and spatial processes determine biodiversity responses to changes in landscape structure, and it is therefore necessary that all aspects of connectivity are considered together. In this perspective, we use a case study to outline why we believe that both the spatial and temporal components of functional connectivity are important for understanding biodiversity patterns in the present-day landscape, and how they can also help us to make better-informed decisions about conserving and restoring landscapes and improving resilience to future change.

  • 16.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. University of York, UK.
    Rico, Yessica
    Bullock, James M.
    Hooftman, Danny A. P.
    Pakeman, Robin J.
    Soons, Merel B.
    Suarez-Esteban, Alberto
    Traveset, Anna
    Wagner, Helene H.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Plant functional connectivity - integrating landscape structure and effective dispersal2017In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, E-ISSN 1365-2745, Vol. 105, no 6, p. 1648-1656Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    1. Dispersal is essential for species to survive the threats of habitat destruction and climate change. Combining descriptions of dispersal ability with those of landscape structure, the concept of functional connectivity has been popular for understanding and predicting species' spatial responses to environmental change. 2. Following recent advances, the functional connectivity concept is now able to move beyond landscape structure to consider more explicitly how other external factors such as climate and resources affect species movement. We argue that these factors, in addition to a consideration of the complete dispersal process, are critical for an accurate understanding of functional connectivity for plant species in response to environmental change. 3. We use recent advances in dispersal, landscape and molecular ecology to describe how a range of external factors can influence effective dispersal in plant species, and how the resulting functional connectivity can be assessed. 4. Synthesis. We define plant functional connectivity as the effective dispersal of propagules or pollen among habitat patches in a landscape. Plant functional connectivity is determined by a combination of landscape structure, interactions between plant, environment and dispersal vectors, and the successful establishment of individuals. We hope that this consolidation of recent research will help focus future connectivity research and conservation.

  • 17.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Schmucki, Reto
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Reimark, Josefin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
    Grazing networks provide useful functional connectivity for plants in fragmented systems2012In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103, Vol. 23, no 5, p. 970-977Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Question To what extent does the movement of animals between fragmented habitat patches provide functional connectivity via endozoochorous seed dispersal? Location The Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. Methods We followed all movements of livestock between islands during one grazing season. After each movement, manure was collected and its seed content assessed through seedling emergence. Seedling data were then compared to vegetation surveys from the grazed islands with regard to functional traits. Results Light- and nitrogen-demanding locally abundant species, and those with relatively small and persistent seeds were more likely to be moved between islands. For quantitative traits, only a subset of the available trait ranges were dispersed, with extreme values left behind. Species apparently specialized to other means of dispersal emerged from the manure samples. Neither dispersed traits nor seed density changed with timing of movement, but seed richness and diversity both increased throughout the season. The subsets of endozoochorously-dispersed species in the established vegetation were more similar than non-dispersed subsets between islands linked by livestock. Conclusions Grazing networks contribute to the connectivity of the core species in the system, and could provide useful tools for grassland management in fragmented landscapes.

  • 18.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Lindgren, Jessica
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Tränk, Louise
    Regional-scale land-cover change during the 20th century and its consequences for biodiversity2015In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, E-ISSN 1654-7209, Vol. 44, p. S17-S27Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Extensive changes in land cover during the 20th century are known to have had detrimental effects on biodiversity in rural landscapes, but the magnitude of change and their ecological effects are not well known on regional scales. We digitized historical maps from the beginning of the 20th century over a 1652 km(2) study area in southeastern Sweden, comparing it to modern-day land cover with a focus on valuable habitat types. Semi-natural grassland cover decreased by over 96 % in the study area, being largely lost to afforestation and silviculture. Grasslands on finer soils were more likely to be converted into modern grassland or arable fields. However, in addition to remaining semi-natural grassland, today's valuable deciduous forest and wetland habitats were mostly grazed grassland in 1900. An analysis of the landscape-level biodiversity revealed that plant species richness was generally more related to the modern landscape, with grazing management being a positive influence on species richness.

  • 19.
    Plue, Jan
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography. University of Bremen, Germany.
    Colas, F.
    Auffret, Alistair G.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
    Methodological bias in the seed bank flora holds significant implications for understanding seed bank community functions2017In: Plant Biology, ISSN 1435-8603, E-ISSN 1438-8677, Vol. 19, no 2, p. 201-210Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Persistent seed banks are a key plant regeneration strategy, buffering environmental variation to allow population and species persistence. Understanding seed bank functioning within herb layer dynamics is therefore important. However, rather than assessing emergence from the seed bank in herb layer gaps, most studies evaluate the seed bank functioning via a greenhouse census. We hypothesise that greenhouse data may not reflect seed bank-driven emergence in disturbance gaps due to methodological differences. Failure in detecting (specialist) species may then introduce methodological bias into the ecological interpretation of seed bank functions using greenhouse data. The persistent seed bank was surveyed in 40 semi-natural grassland plots across a fragmented landscape, quantifying seedling emergence in both the greenhouse and in disturbance gaps. Given the suspected interpretational bias, we tested whether each census uncovers similar seed bank responses to fragmentation. Seed bank characteristics were similar between censuses. Census type affected seed bank composition, with >25% of species retrieved better by either census type, dependent on functional traits including seed longevity, production and size. Habitat specialists emerged more in disturbance gaps than in the greenhouse, while the opposite was true for ruderal species. Both censuses uncovered fragmentation-induced seed bank patterns. Low surface area sampling, larger depth of sampling and germination conditions cause underrepresentation of the habitat-specialised part of the persistent seed bank flora during greenhouse censuses. Methodological bias introduced in the recorded seed bank data may consequently have significant implications for the ecological interpretation of seed bank community functions based on greenhouse data.

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