Micro-topographic heterogeneity increases plant diversityin old stages of restored grasslands

Deák, Balázs and Valkó, Orsolya and Török, Péter and Kelemen, András and Miglécz, Tamás and Szabó, Szilárd and Szabó, Gergely and Tóthmérész, Béla (2015) Micro-topographic heterogeneity increases plant diversityin old stages of restored grasslands. BASIC AND APPLIED ECOLOGY, 16 (4). pp. 291-299. ISSN 1439-1791

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It is a truism in ecology that environmental heterogeneity increases diversity. Supporting field studies are mostly concernedwith a large-scale topographic heterogeneity, ranging from a couple of metres to landscape-scale gradients. To test the role offine-scale micro-topography on plant diversity, we studied the initial vegetation of recently filled (1-year-old), and establishedvegetation on old (7-year-old) soil-filled channels in an alkali landscape, East-Hungary. We hypothesised that (i) recentlyfilled channels are characterised by a high cover of ruderal species and high species diversity and (ii) high micro-topographicheterogeneity increases the diversity of species and plant strategy types (mixed C–S–R categories) in early stages but lateron this effect diminishes. We found that diversity of species and plant strategy types was higher in recently filled channelscompared to old filled channels. Micro-topographic heterogeneity had no effect on the studied vegetation parameters in recentlyfilled channels. Conversely, in old filled channels higher micro-topographic heterogeneity resulted in higher diversity and lowercover of the dominant grass Festuca pseudovina. Higher micro-topographic heterogeneity resulted in increased ruderality anddecreased stress-tolerance, but it did not increase the diversity of plant strategy types. In contrast with former studies, we foundthat a couple of centimetres of micro-topographic heterogeneity had no effect on vegetation in recently filled channels, butsupported a high diversity in old filled channels. An important practical implication of our study is that in grassland restorationprojects, micro-topographic heterogeneity has a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QH Natural history / természetrajz > QH540 Ecology / ökológia
Q Science / természettudomány > QK Botany / növénytan > QK30 Plant ecology. Plant ethology / növényökológia
Depositing User: Orsolya Valkó
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2016 13:45
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2016 13:45

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