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01.12.2008 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 13/2008

Biodiversity and Conservation 13/2008

Changes of species richness pattern in mountain grasslands: abandonment versus restoration

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 13/2008
Autoren:
Dobromil Galvánek, Jan Lepš

Abstract

Changes in plant species richness at various spatial scales were investigated by manipulative experiment in mountain grasslands. The aim of the research was to compare changes in species richness in newly abandoned sites and sites where restoration measures were applied after 20 years of abandonment. The plots were located in two vegetation types with different moisture regime. Species richness decreased significantly after abandonment, mainly at the finest spatial scale of 10 × 10 cm. There was significant increase of species richness on restored sites, but it was apparent mainly at a larger scale. However, even 4 years of regular mowing were not sufficient to restore species richness to the level typical for traditionally managed grasslands in the region. No significant difference was found in the performance of the 2 contrasting vegetation types (wet and dry) in relation to management measures. A significant difference in scale-dependent species richness was only observed. The dry type had a steeper species-area curve, with a lower number of species at the finest spatial scale. According to the results of the experiment, mountain grasslands are very vulnerable habitats, losing their conservation value quickly after abandonment. Restoration is possible due to an extensive species pool in the region, but return to the original species richness at all spatial scales is quite a long process.

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