Effect of expansive species on seed rain and soil seed bank of mountain mesic meadows
2016 (English)In: Tuexenia, ISSN 0722-494X, no 36, 81-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The degradation of species-rich mountain meadows has been observed in many parts of Central Europe in the last few decades. It is reflected in decreasing species numbers and changes in the proportions of plant species in the aboveground vegetation. Some species are increasing in abundance and eventually dominate the meadow vegetation. There is still a lack of studies explaining how this process is reflected in the soil seed bank. Therefore, the goal of the current study was to test whether expansive species that degrade aboveground vegetation of mountain meadows also influence, quantitatively and qualitatively, seed rain and seed bank. Soil samples were taken from 14 plots in degraded patches and another 14 plots in non-degraded patches. Nearly the same numbers of seedlings were recorded in both meadow types. In both cases, low similarities between aboveground vegetation and soil seed rain and seed bank were observed. Expansive species causing meadow degradation (Calamagrostis epigejos, Festuca rubra, Deschampsia cespitosa and Lupinus polyphyllus) reached cover values of 60-83% in the aboveground vegetation, and a share of up to 36% in the seed rain and seed bank. The mean species richness in the aboveground vegetation and the soil of degraded meadows was lower than in the non degraded plots. However, the seed bank may buffer degradation to some extent since the degradation of aboveground vegetation was faster than impoverishment of seed bank. Consequently, seed rain and seed bank of degraded meadows still contained typical mesic meadow species in similar proportions as non-degraded meadows. This indicates that seed rain and seed bank may contribute to the restoration of degraded meadows after the removal of expansive species from the aboveground vegetation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. no 36, 81-96 p.
Arrhenatheretalia, degradation of vegetation, grassland, Polish Sudetes Mts, species richness
Research subject Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-47008DOI: 10.14471/2016.36.011ISI: 000382709100005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-47008DiVA: diva2:1044286