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  • 1.
    Cousins, Sara AO
    et al.
    Stockholm University.
    Lindgren, Jessica
    Stockholm University.
    Plue, Jan
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Brown, Ian
    Stockholm University.
    Kimberley, Adam
    Stockholm University.
    Landskapsindikatorer för biologisk mångfald2022Report (Refereed)
    Abstract [sv]

    Det övergripande syftet med detta projekt är att identifiera landskapsindikatorergenom att integrera tillgänglig statistik och geodata tillsammans med ekologiskteori för att identifiera hur förlust av gräsmarker och småhabitat i jordbrukslandskappåverkar mångfald av gräsmarksväxter nationellt. I projektet har vi använt historiskadataunderlag; statistik, kartor, och satellitbilder tillsammans med geografisk analysoch vegetationsinventeringar. 48 jordbrukslandskap valdes ut i fyra olika biogeografiskaregioner; Norrbotten, Gävleborg, Södermanland och Skåne. Studieandskapenvar cirkelrunda med en diameter på 2 km och valdes ut baserat på tillgången av brahistoriskt kartmaterial från 1800-talets andra hälft. De historiska kartorna rektifieradesoch digitaliserades i ett geografiskt informationssystem varefter markanvändningentolkades med fokus på gräsmark och åker. Som ett mått på den biologiska mångfalden kopplat till gräsmarkshabitat inventerades kärlväxter i 20 stycken slumpmässigt utlagda 1m2 rutor i små resthabitat av gräsmarkskaraktär (framförallt åkerholmar, vägkanter, skogsbryn) och 10 stycken 1m2 rutor slumpmässigt utlagda i en centralt belägen betesmark (om en sådan fanns) inom varje jordbrukslandskap. Ett annat mått på biologisk mångfald är genetisk variation. Den genetiska variationen hos gräsmarksspecialisten liten blåklocka (Campanula rotundifolia) analyserades genom att blad samlades in från 25 olika populationer, utspridda i varje jordbrukslandskap. Växternas mångfald och den genetiska mångfalden hos liten blåklocka inventerades inom en 1 km bred cirkel i mitten av varje studielandskap. 

    Resultaten blev följande:Det lämpligaste historiska dataunderlaget att använda vid landskapsanalyser berortill stor del på vilken rumslig noggrannhet och upplösning av analys som efterfrågas.Jordbruksstatistiken anges årligen över socknen men socknarna varierar stort i storlekoch det kan vara svårt att fånga förändringar som påverkar gräsmarker i stora socknarmed stor andel skog. Historiska kartor har en hög rumslig upplösning men endast ettfåtal platser har ett äldre kartmaterial. Det äldre kartmaterialet täcker oftast ett relativtlitet område då utmarkerna sällan karterades. Historiska data bör tolkas med en förståelseför den begränsade informationen som kan extraheras från underlaget. Detär önskvärt att fler historiska kartor digitaliseras i geografiska informationssystemför att underlätta vidare analys. Den ekonomiska kartan kan vara ett bra tillskott föratt analysera förändring över tid men det måste ske med förbehåll då kartmaterialetär av olika ålder i olika delar av landet och svårigheten att med säkerhet separera bergi dagen, kalhygge och gräsmark. Historiska satellitbilder fungerar dåligt då det är svårtatt få både molnfria och snöfria bilder över alla regioner under vegetationsperiodenoch att det inte går att använda samma träningsytor över hela landet i en analys. Metodenatt använda maskininlärning och Sentinel-2 L2A för att övervaka naturbetesmarkerverkar mycket lovande kan vidareutvecklas.För 150 år sedan fanns det i snitt 42 % gräsmark (öppen/halvöppen mark, ej åker)inom de 48 jordbrukslandskapen. Idag finns det 2 % av den ursprungliga gräsmarkenkvar i Norrbotten och Gävleborg, 6% i Skåne och 10% i Södermanland. Många jordbrukslandskap har ingen gräsmark kvar alls, trots att alla 48 jordbrukslandskap fortfarande är jordbrukslandskap. Resultatet visar att andelen naturbetesmarker minskat betydligt mer än vad som visats i tidigare studier.

    Den avgörande faktorn för dagens artrikedom av växter i jordbrukslandskapet är attdet finns betesmarker i landskapet. Naturbetesmarker med lång kontinuerlig hävd ärviktiga, och ju större betesmark desto bättre. Småhabitat av tidigare gräsmark hade enrelativt låg andel arter, jämfört med tidigare studier. Vägrenar i de nordligare regionernaär breda, på grund av snöröjning, och kan ha en relativt hög andel gräsmarksspecialister.I jordbrukslandskap med få eller inga betesmarker spelar småhabitat en stor roll för många gräsmarksspecialister men småhabitaten kan dock inte kompensera för betade gräsmarker, speciellt inte naturbetesmarker. Analys av gräsmarksspecialisten liten blåklocka visade att dess populationsstorlek spelar stor roll för den genetiska diversiteten. Ju större population i landskapet desto högre genetisk variation. Populationsstorlek var högre med ökad andel betesmark, naturbetesmark och variation i jordbrukslandskapet på nationell nivå. På regional nivå blir resultaten inte lika tydliga. Bristen på betesmark i många av jordbrukslandskapen försvårar statistiskt robusta analyser. Flera av de 48 jordbrukslandskap som ingick i analysen har tidigare haft naturbetesmarker, enligt GIS-skiktet tillhörande TUVA-databasen, men var ohävdade och övergivna sedan flera år tillbaka vid tidpunkten för våra växtinventeringar. För att kunna göra landskapsanalyser och övervaka gräsmarkernas situation är det viktigt att både databasen och dess nedladdningsbara GIS-filer hålls uppdaterade. Resultaten visar på vikten att inkludera vardagslandskap och landskap från flera av Sveriges olika regioner. Fokus på de flesta tidigare landskapsekologiska studierbaseras på jordbrukslandskap med en relativt hög andel biologisk viktiga habitat ochfrån södra Sverige. Genom att analysera landskapsförändringar från ett stort antaljordbrukslandskap från flera biogeografiska regioner i Sverige ger denna studie enhögre generalitet och pekar ännu tydligare på vikten att öka insatserna för att bevaraoch restaurera gräsmarker nationellt innan dess biologiska värden går förlorade.

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  • 2.
    De Pauw, Karen
    et al.
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Meeussen, Camille
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Govaert, Sanne
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Sanczuk, Pieter
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Vanneste, Thomas
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Bernhardt‐Römermann, Markus
    Institute of Ecology and Evolution Friedrich‐Schiller‐University Jena Jena Germany.
    Bollmann, Kurt
    Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL Birmensdorf Switzerland.
    Brunet, Jörg
    Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Alnarp Sweden.
    Calders, Kim
    CAVElab – Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Ghent Belgium.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Biogeography and Geomatics Department of Physical Geography Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden.
    Diekmann, Martin
    Vegetation Ecology and Conservation Biology Institute of Ecology FB2University of Bremen Bremen Germany.
    Hedwall, Per‐Ola
    Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Alnarp Sweden.
    Iacopetti, Giovanni
    Department of Agriculture, Food Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Lenoir, Jonathan
    UR “Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN, UMR 7058 CNRS‐UPJV) Jules Verne University of Picardie Amiens France.
    Lindmo, Sigrid
    Department of Biology Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim Norway.
    Orczewska, Anna
    Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection Faculty of Natural Sciences University of Silesia Katowice Poland.
    Ponette, Quentin
    Earth and Life Institute Université catholique de Louvain Louvain‐la‐Neuve Belgium.
    Plue, Jan
    Biogeography and Geomatics Department of Physical Geography Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden;IVL Swedish Environmental Institute Stockholm Sweden.
    Selvi, Federico
    Department of Agriculture, Food Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Spicher, Fabien
    UR “Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN, UMR 7058 CNRS‐UPJV) Jules Verne University of Picardie Amiens France.
    Verbeeck, Hans
    CAVElab – Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Ghent Belgium.
    Vermeir, Pieter
    Laboratory for Chemical Analysis (LCA) Department of Green Chemistry and Technology Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Gent Belgium.
    Zellweger, Florian
    Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL Birmensdorf Switzerland.
    Verheyen, Kris
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Vangansbeke, Pieter
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    De Frenne, Pieter
    Forest and Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of understorey plants respond differently to environmental conditions in European forest edges2021In: Journal of Ecology, ISSN 0022-0477, Vol. 109, no 7, p. 2629-2648Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    1. Forest biodiversity worldwide is affected by climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, and today 20 % of the forest area is located within 100 m of a forest edge. Still, forest edges harbour a substantial amount of terrestrial biodiversity, especially in the understorey. The functional and phylogenetic diversity of forest edges have never been studied simultaneously at a continental scale, in spite of their importance for the forests’ functioning and for communities’ resilience to future change.

    2. We assessed nine metrics of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of understorey plant communities in 225 plots spread along edge‐to‐interior gradients in deciduous forests across Europe. We then derived the relative effects and importance of edaphic, stand and landscape conditions on the diversity metrics.

    3. Here, we show that taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity metrics respond differently to environmental conditions. We report an increase in functional diversity in plots with stronger microclimatic buffering, in spite of their lower taxonomic species richness. Additionally, we found increased taxonomic species richness at the forest edge, but in forests with intermediate and high openness, these communities had decreased phylogenetic diversity.

    4. Functional and phylogenetic diversity revealed complementary and important insights in community assembly mechanisms. Several environmental filters were identified as potential drivers of the patterns, such as a colder macroclimate and less buffered microclimate for functional diversity. For phylogenetic diversity, edaphic conditions were more important. Interestingly, plots with lower soil pH had decreased taxonomic species richness, but led to increased phylogenetic diversity, challenging the phylogenetic niche conservatism concept.

    5. Synthesis. Taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity of understorey communities in forest edges respond differently to environmental conditions, providing insight in different community assembly mechanisms and their interactions. Therefore, it is important to look beyond species richness with phylogenetic and functional diversity approaches when focusing on forest understorey biodiversity.

  • 3.
    Gasperini, Cristina
    et al.
    Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy;Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Bollmann, Kurt
    Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL Birmensdorf Switzerland.
    Brunet, Jörg
    Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Lomma Sweden.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Department of Physical Geography Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden.
    Decocq, Guillaume
    UMR CNRS 7058 “Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN) Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens France.
    De Pauw, Karen
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Diekmann, Martin
    Vegetation Ecology and Conservation Biology, Institute of Ecology, FB2 University of Bremen Bremen Germany.
    Govaert, Sanne
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Graae, Bente J.
    Department of Biology NTNU Trondheim Norway.
    Hedwall, Per‐Ola
    Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Lomma Sweden.
    Iacopetti, Giovanni
    Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Lenoir, Jonathan
    UMR CNRS 7058 “Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN) Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens France.
    Lindmo, Sigrid
    Department of Biology NTNU Trondheim Norway.
    Meeussen, Camille
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Orczewska, Anna
    Institute of Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Protection, Faculty of Natural Sciences University of Silesia Katowice Poland.
    Ponette, Quentin
    Earth and Life Institute Université Catholique de Louvain Louvain‐la‐Neuve Belgium.
    Plue, Jan
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. IVL Swedish Environmental Institute Stockholm Sweden.
    Sanczuk, Pieter
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Spicher, Fabien
    UMR CNRS 7058 “Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés” (EDYSAN) Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens France.
    Vanneste, Thomas
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Vangansbeke, Pieter
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Zellweger, Florian
    Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL Birmensdorf Switzerland.
    Selvi, Federico
    Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Frenne, Pieter De
    Forest & Nature Lab, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Soil seed bank responses to edge effects in temperate European forests2022In: Global Ecology and Biogeography, ISSN 1466-822X, E-ISSN 1466-8238, Vol. 31, no 9, p. 1877-1893Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim: The amount of forest edges is increasing globally due to forest fragmentationand land-use changes. However, edge effects on the soil seed bank of temperate forests are still poorly understood. Here, we assessed edge effects at contrasting spatialscales across Europe and quantified the extent to which edges can preserve the seedsof forest specialist plants.Location: Temperate European deciduous forests along a 2,300-km latitudinalgradient.Time period: 2018–2021.Major taxa studied: Vascular plants.Methods: Through a greenhouse germination experiment, we studied how edge effects alter the density, diversity, composition and functionality of forest soil seedbanks in 90 plots along different latitudes, elevations and forest management types.We also assessed which environmental conditions drive the seed bank responses at the forest edge versus interior and looked at the relationship between the seed bankand the herb layer species richness.

    Results: Overall, 10,108 seedlings of 250 species emerged from the soil seed bank.Seed density and species richness of generalists (species not only associated withforests) were higher at edges compared to interiors, with a negative influence of C : Nratio and litter quality. Conversely, forest specialist species richness did not declinefrom the interior to the edge. Also, edges were compositionally, but not functionally,different from interiors. The correlation between the seed bank and the herb layerspecies richness was positive and affected by microclimate.Main conclusions: Our results underpin how edge effects shape species diversity andcomposition of soil seed banks in ancient forests, especially increasing the proportionof generalist species and thus potentially favouring a shift in community composition.However, the presence of many forest specialists suggests that soil seed banks stillplay a key role in understorey species persistence and could support the resilience ofour fragmented forests.

  • 4. Gasperini, Cristina
    et al.
    Carrari, Elisa
    Govaert, Sanne
    Meeussen, Camille
    De Pauw, Karen
    Plue, Jan
    Sanczuk, Pieter
    Vanneste, Thomas
    Vangansbeke, Pieter
    Jacopetti, Giovanni
    De Frenne, Pieter
    Selvi, Federico
    Edge effects on the realised soil seed bank along microclimatic gradients in temperate European forests2021In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 798, p. 149373-149373, article id 149373Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite the crucial role of the seed bank in forest conservation and dynamics, the effects of forest edge microclimate and climate warming on germination responses from the forest seed bank are still almost unknown. Here, we investigated edge effects on the realised seed bank and seedling community in two types of European temperate deciduous forest, one in the Oceanic and one in the Mediterranean climatic region. Responses in terms of seedling density, diversity, species composition and functional type of the seed bank at the forest edge and interior were examined along latitudinal, elevational and stand structural gradients by means of soil translocation experiments. Moreover, we translocated soil samples from high to low elevation forests in the two regions, thus performing a warming simulation. Density, species diversity and mortality of the seedlings varied with region and elevation.

    Seedling density also differed between forest edge and interior position, while seedling cover mainly depended on forest structure. Both the edge and interior forest seed bank contained a high proportion of generalist species. In Belgium, a more homogeneous seed bank was found at the forest edge and interior, while in Italy compositional and ecological differences were larger: at the forest edge, more light and less moisture demanding seedling communities developed, with a higher proportion of generalists compared to the interior. In both regions, the upland-to-lowland translocation experiment revealed effects of warming on forest seed banks with thermophilization of the realised communities. Moreover, edge conditions shifted the seedling composition towards more light-demanding communities. The establishment of more light and warm-adapted species from the seed bank could in the long term alter the aboveground vegetation composition, with communities becoming progressively richer in light-demanding generalists and poorer in forest specialists.

  • 5. Hooftman, Danny A.P.
    et al.
    Kimberley, Adam
    Cousins, Sara A.O.
    Santamaría Bueno, Silvia
    Honnay, Olivier
    Krickl, Patricia
    Plue, Jan
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Poschlod, Peter
    Traveset, Anna
    Bullock, James M.
    Could green infrastructure supplement ecosystem service provision from semi-natural grasslands?2023In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 328, p. 116952-116952, article id 116952Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Ancient semi-natural grasslands in Europe are important for ecosystem service (ES) provision. Often, the surrounding matrix contains ‘Grassland Green Infrastructure’ (GGI) that contain grassland species which have the potential to supplement grassland ES provision across the landscape. Here we investigate the potential for GGI to deliver a set of complementary ES, driven by plant composition.We surveyed 36 landscapes across three European countries comprising core grasslands and their surrounding GGI. We calculated community-level values of plant species characteristics to provide indicators for four ES: nature conservation value, pollination, carbon storage and aesthetic appeal.Inferred ES delivery for GGI was substantially lower than in core grasslands for conservation, pollination and aesthetic appeal indicators, but not for carbon storage.

    These differences were driven by the GGI having 17% fewer plant species, and compositional differences, with 61% of species unique to the core grasslands. In addition, connectivity to the core, the amount of GGI and inferred seed dispersal distances by livestock, were strongly positively correlated with conservation value, pollination and aesthetic indicators. All ES indicators showed similar responses to the GGI spatial structure and distance to the core, suggesting robust effects of these drivers on ES. We projected that improved landscape-wide delivery of nature conservation value and pollination could be achieved through targeted GGI management. Reductions in the distances seeds would need to disperse, more GGI, along with a diversification of the GGI elements, were predicted to enhance service credits.We conclude that for vegetation-related ES, species surveys can be employed to assess potential ES delivery. Creating and enhancing GGI is a useful landscape management strategy to supplement the ES delivered by ancient grasslands.

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  • 6.
    Meeussen, Ccamille
    et al.
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    De Pauw, Karen
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Sanczuk, Pieter
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Brunet, Jörg
    Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Lomma Sweden.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Biogeography and Geomatics Department of Physical Geography Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden.
    Gasperini, Cristina
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium;Department of Agriculture, Food Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Hedwall, Per‐Ola
    Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Lomma Sweden.
    Iacopetti, Giovanni
    Department of Agriculture, Food Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Lenoir, Jonathan
    UMR CNRS 7058 « Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés » (EDYSAN) Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens France.
    Plue, Jan
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Biogeography and Geomatics Department of Physical Geography Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden.
    Selvi, Frederico
    Department of Agriculture, Food Environment and Forestry University of Florence Florence Italy.
    Spicher, Fabien
    UMR CNRS 7058 « Ecologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés » (EDYSAN) Université de Picardie Jules Verne Amiens France.
    Uria Diez, Jaime
    Biogeography and Geomatics Department of Physical Geography Stockholm University Stockholm Sweden.
    Verheyen, Kris
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Vangansbeke, Pieter
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    De Frenne, P.
    Forest & Nature Lab Department of Environment Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Melle‐Gontrode Belgium.
    Initial oak regeneration responses to experimental warming along microclimatic and macroclimatic gradients2022In: Plant Biology, ISSN 1435-8603, E-ISSN 1438-8677, Vol. 24, no 5, p. 745-757Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Quercus spp. are one of the most important tree genera in temperate deciduous forests in terms of biodiversity, economic and cultural perspectives.

    However, natural regeneration of oaks, depending on specific environmental conditions, is still not sufficiently understood.

    Oak regeneration dynamics are impacted by climate change, but these climate impacts will depend on local forest management and light and temperature conditions.

  • 7.
    Plue, Jan
    et al.
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    E. Kapas, Rozalia
    Kimberley, Adam
    A O. Cousins, Sara
    Grazing livestock increases both vegetation and seed bank diversity in remnant and restored grasslands2020In: Journal of Vegetation Science, ISSN 1100-9233, E-ISSN 1654-1103Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Questions Restoring grasslands is of great importance to biodiversity conservation to counteract widespread, ongoing losses of plant species diversity. Using source populations in remnant habitats and increasing functional connectivity mediated by grazing animals within and between habitats can benefit grassland restoration efforts. Here we investigate how grazing contributes to vegetation and seed bank diversity and composition in remnant and restored grassland communities in fragmented landscapes. Location Stockholm archipelago, Sweden. Methods We investigated the effects of the presence or absence of grazing animals as potential elements of functional connectivity on grassland species composition in both the vegetation layer and in the seed bank. Species inventory and seed bank sampling were carried out in 2 m × 2 m plots in remnant grassland habitats and adjacent restored grasslands on former arable fields. Results Species composition varied between remnant and restored grasslands, with management‐dependent species more common in remnant grasslands. Remnant habitats with active grazing management contained a higher number of species in both the vegetation and seed bank compared to restored grasslands, but grazing reduced dispersal limitation from higher distance to source populations for specialist species. Where grazing was absent fewer plant species occurred in both the vegetation and in the seed bank. Conclusion Our results show that grazing livestock play a key role in facilitating both spatial and temporal dispersal in fragmented grasslands. This results in increased species diversity in the vegetation and the seed bank of grazed grasslands compared to those maintained by mowing only. Functional connectivity provided by grazing management increases the possibility for species establishment from both the below‐ground seed bank and the surrounding landscape, thus increasing the resilience of plant communities against disturbances or climatic changes.

  • 8.
    Plue, Jan
    et al.
    Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Dept of Biology, KU Leuven Leuven Belgium;Landscape, Environment and Geomatics, Dept of Physical Geography, Stockholm Univ. Stockholm Sweden;IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Inst. Stockholm Sweden.
    Kimberley, Adam
    Landscape, Environment and Geomatics, Dept of Physical Geography, Stockholm Univ. Stockholm Sweden.
    Bullock, James M.
    UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Wallingford UK.
    Hellemans, Bart
    Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics, Dept of Biology, KU Leuven Leuven Belgium.
    Hooftman, Danny A. P.
    Lactuca Amsterdam the Netherlands.
    Krickl, Patricia
    Univ. of Regensburg Regensburg Germany.
    Leus, Leen
    Plant Sciences Unit, Flanders Inst. for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Melle Belgium.
    Peeters, Gerrit
    Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Dept of Biology, KU Leuven Leuven Belgium.
    Poschlod, Peter
    Univ. of Regensburg Regensburg Germany.
    Traveset, Anna
    Global Change Research Group, Mediterranean Inst. for Advanced Studies Mallorca Spain.
    Volckaert, Filip
    Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics, Dept of Biology, KU Leuven Leuven Belgium.
    Cousins, Sara A. O.
    Landscape, Environment and Geomatics, Dept of Physical Geography, Stockholm Univ. Stockholm Sweden.
    Honnay, Olivier
    Plant Conservation and Population Biology, Dept of Biology, KU Leuven Leuven Belgium.
    Green infrastructure can promote plant functional connectivity in a grassland species around fragmented semi‐natural grasslands in NW‐Europe2022In: Ecography, ISSN 0906-7590, E-ISSN 1600-0587Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Species may benefit from green infrastructure, i.e. the network of natural and anthropogenic habitat remnants in human-dominated landscapes, if it helps isolated populations in remaining habitat patches to be functionally connected. The importance of green infrastructure is therefore increasingly emphasized in conservation policy to counter biodiversity loss. However, there is limited evidence, particularly in plants, that green infrastructure promotes functional connectivity, i.e. supports the colonization of habitat patches across a landscape. We applied landscape genetics to test whether the green infrastructure supports structural and functional connectivity in the grassland perennial Galium verum, in 35 landscapes in Belgium, Germany and Sweden. We used multivariate genetic clustering techniques, nestedness analyses and conditional inference trees to examine landscape-scale patterns in genetic diversity and structure of plant populations in the green infrastructure surrounding semi-natural grasslands. Inferred functional connectivity explained genetic variation better than structural connectivity, yielding positive effects on genetic variation.

    The road verge network, a major structural component of the green infrastructure and its functional connectivity, most effectively explained genetic diversity and composition in G. verum. Galium verum ramets occupying the surrounding landscape proved to be genetic subsets of focal grassland populations, shaping a nested landscape population genetic structure with focal grasslands, particularly ancient ones, harbouring unique genetic diversity. This nested pattern weakened as road network density increased, suggesting road verge networks enable high landscape occupancy by increased habitat availability and facilitates gene flow into the surrounding landscape. Our study proposes that green infrastructure can promote functional connectivity, providing that a plant species can survive outside of core habitat patches. As this often excludes habitat specialist species, conservation practice and policy should primarily focus on ancient, managed semi-natural grasslands. These grasslands both harbour unique genetic diversity and act as primary gene and propagule sources for the surrounding landscape, highlighting their conservation value.

  • 9.
    Plue, Jan
    et al.
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Kimberley, Adam
    Hooftman, Danny
    M. Bullock, James
    Honnay, Olivier
    Krickl, Patricia
    Lindgren, Jessica
    Poschlod, Peter
    Traveset, Anna
    A O. Cousins, Sara
    Functional rather than structural connectivity explains grassland plant diversity patterns following landscape scale habitat loss2020In: Landscape Ecology, ISSN 0921-2973, E-ISSN 1572-9761Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context Functional connectivity is vital for plant species dispersal, but little is known about how habitat loss and the presence of green infrastructure interact to affect both functional and structural connectivity, and the impacts of each on species groups. Objectives We investigate how changes in the spatial configuration of species-rich grasslands and related green infrastructure such as road verges, hedgerows and forest borders in three European countries have influenced landscape connectivity, and the effects on grassland plant biodiversity. Methods We mapped past and present land use for 36 landscapes in Belgium, Germany and Sweden, to estimate connectivity based on simple habitat spatial configuration (structural connectivity) and accounting for effective dispersal and establishment (functional connectivity) around focal grasslands. We used the resulting measures of landscape change to interpret patterns in plant communities. Results Increased presence of landscape connecting elements could not compensate for large scale losses of grassland area resulting in substantial declines in structural and functional connectivity. Generalist species were negatively affected by connectivity, and responded most strongly to structural connectivity, while functional connectivity determined the occurrence of grassland specialists in focal grasslands. Restored patches had more generalist species, and a lower density of grassland specialist species than ancient patches. Conclusions Protecting both species rich grasslands and dispersal pathways within landscapes is essential for maintaining grassland biodiversity. Our results show that increases in green infrastructure have not been sufficient to offset loss of semi-natural habitat, and that landscape links must be functionally effective in order to contribute to grassland diversity.

  • 10.
    Plue, Jan
    et al.
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
    Van Calster, Hans
    Auestad, Inger
    Basto, Sofia
    M. Bekker, Renee
    Henrik Bruun, Hans
    Chevalier, Richard
    Decocq, Guillaume
    Grandin, Ulf
    Hermy, Martin
    Jacquemyn, Hans
    Jakobsson, Anna
    Jankowska-Blaszczuk, Malgorzata
    Kalamees, Rein
    A. Koch, Marcus
    H. Marrs, Robb
    Marteinsdottir, Bryndis
    Milberg, Per
    M. Måren, Inger
    J. Pakeman, Robin
    K. Phoenix, Gareth
    Thompson, Ken
    Vandvik, Vigdis
    Wagner, Markus
    G. Auffret, Alistair
    Buffering effects of soil seed bank on plant community composition in response to land use and climate2020In: Global Ecology and Biogeography, ISSN 1466-822X, E-ISSN 1466-8238Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aim. Climate and land use are key determinants of biodiversity, with past and ongoing changes posing serious threats to global ecosystems. Unlike most other organism groups, plant species can possess dormant life-history stages such as soil seed banks, which may help plant communities to resist or at least postpone the detrimental impact of global changes. This study investigates the potential for soil seed banks to achieve this. Location. Europe Time period. 1978 – 2014 Major taxa studied. Flowering plants Methods. Using a space-for-time/warming approach, we study plant species richness and composition in the herb layer and the soil seed bank in 2796 community plots from 54 datasets in managed grasslands, forests and intermediate, successional habitats across a climate gradient. Results. Soil seed banks held more species than the herb layer, being compositionally similar across habitats. Species richness was lower in forests and successional habitats compared to grasslands, with annual temperature range more important than mean annual temperature for determining richness. Climate and land use effects were generally less pronounced when plant community richness included seed bank species richness, while there was no clear effect of land use and climate on compositional similarity between the seed bank and the herb layer. Main conclusions. High seed bank diversity and compositional similarity between the herb layer and seed bank plant communities may provide a potentially important functional buffer against the impact of ongoing environmental changes on plant communities. This capacity could, however, be threatened by climate warming. Dormant life-history stages can therefore be important sources of diversity in changing environments, potentially underpinning already observed time-lags in plant community responses to global change. However, as soil seed banks themselves appear, albeit less, vulnerable to the same changes, their potential to buffer change can only be temporary, and major community shifts may still be expected.

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